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It appears that there are at least couple of companies in the book biz that are too big for their britches as the saying goes.
Publishers Weekly reports: The Department of Justice dealt a serious blow Thursday evening to the chances that the Google Book Search settlement will gain court approval later this month when it found that the revised agreement still raises class certification, copyright and antitrust issues. The DOJ said that despite “good faith” efforts to modify the agreement, “the amended settlement agreement suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement: it is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the court in this litigation."
The crew at Vulture Central (further known as British tech publication The Register) posted a report by Cade Metz about the continuing review of the proposed Google Books settlement. Metz notes that the US Department of Justice still finds as a fundamental problem to the settlement that it is using class action lawsuit mechanisms to do an overly far-reaching end-run of the legislative process so as to effect significant change in society.
Stanford signs Google Book Search agreement, endorses court settlement
"Stanford is on the cutting edge of technology development and is using technology to improve access to information not just for their faculty and students, but for the world," said Dan Clancy, Google Books engineering director. "Their early participation was important to the establishment of the Google Books project, and we’re very pleased that they have continued to support this effort and expanded their commitment under the terms of the settlement."
Google, copyright, and our future: Lawrence Lessig
The deal constructs a world in which control can be exercised at the level of a page, and maybe even a quote. It is a world in which every bit, every published word, could be licensed. It is the opposite of the old slogan about nuclear power: every bit gets metered, because metering is so cheap. We begin to sell access to knowledge the way we sell access to a movie theater, or a candy store, or a baseball stadium. We create not digital libraries, but digital bookstores: a Barnes & Noble without the Starbucks.
Members of the Authors Guild who vociferously opposed Google Books now support the initiative. The estates of author John Steinbeck and songwriter Woody Guthrie, which led a successful movement to postpone the opt-out deadline to January 28, said they are now happy with the revised Google Books plan in an e-mail the Authors Guild sent to its members on Thursday.
Google to end China censorship after e-mail breach
Google Inc. will stop censoring its search results in China and may pull out of the country completely after discovering that computer hackers had tricked human-rights activists into exposing their e-mail accounts to outsiders.
Google’s Book Scanning Technology Revealed
Google was awarded a patent for a device to rapidly scan high-quality of images of books last March, as reported by NPR and CNet. However, no one has been able to get a glimpse of how the system works in practice, until now. Researchers Nakashima, Watanabe, Komuro, and Ishikawa of the University of Tokyo have published an article fully explaining and providing pictures of a system nearly identical to that in Google’s patent. It is not clear whether the Japanese researchers or Google came up with the idea first, but the University of Tokyo article does an excellent job of explaining the book scanning technology.
Google's 10 toughest rivals
Google's rivalry with tech firms is likely to get more intense in 2010. In Google, tech firms are up against the Internet's most-trafficked Web site and a money-making machine. Google is poised to rack up more than $23 billion in revenues in 2009, with margins over 30%. With its huge cash reserves, Google has money to buy innovative start-ups -- including recent purchases of On2, ReCAPTCHA and AdMob -- to keep itself at the cutting edge.
Interesting list of 10 tech vendors that are likely to shape up as Google's biggest rivals in the year ahead and the areas in which they will compete hardest:
Google sponsored research to detect differences in how children and adults search and to identify barriers children face when seeking information.
When Benjamin Feshbach was 11 years old, he was given a brainteaser: Which day would the vice president’s birthday fall on the next year?
Benjamin, now 13, said he typed the question directly into the Google search box, to no avail. He then tried Wikipedia, Yahoo, AOL and Ask.com, also without success. “Later someone told me it was a multistep question,” said Benjamin, a seventh grader from North Potomac, Md.
“Now it seems quite obvious because I’m older,” he said. “But, eventually, I gave up. I didn’t think the answer was important enough to be on Google.” Benjamin is one of 83 children, ages 7, 9 and 11, who participated in a study on children and keyword searching. Sponsored by Google and developed by the University of Maryland and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the research was aimed at discerning the differences between how children and adults search and identify the barriers children face when trying to retrieve information.
Efforts to digitize French culture, from Marcel Proust’s manuscripts to the first films of the legendary Lumière brothers, have been bogged down by the country’s reluctance to rely on help from Google.
But France thinks it may now have an alternative.
A consortium of French technology companies and government-backed I.T. research labs says it can provide the skills needed by European libraries, universities, publishers and others to scan, catalog and deliver to end-users the contents of their archives better than Google can.
Full story in the NYT