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Google's Book Scanning Technology Revealed

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.

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Google's 10 toughest rivals

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:

Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet

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.

Full article in the NYT

French Consortium Is Out to Battle Google Over Book Scanning

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

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Google Loses in French Copyright Case

Google was ordered to stop putting scanned French books in its database and to pay about $430,000 in damages.

Story in the NYT

Google Takes More Heat For Digital Library Plans

Google Takes More Heat For Digital Library Plans

A coalition of U.S. library associations has organized itself in a collective effort to force Google to keep access to its in-the-works digital library cheap. The library collective has already petitioned the federal Justice Department to monitor the project’s development and ensure that the Internet giant doesn’t charge too much for institutional subscriptions.

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France 1, Google 0

A Paris court has ruled that Google is breaking French law with its policy of digitizing books, and has fined the company $14,300 a day until it rids its database of the literary extracts.

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Putting a Bar Code on Places, Not Just Products


If you walk past the gift shop of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, or Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles, or Cheeseburger Baby in Miami, the chances are that you will see a sticker in the window that has a Google Maps logo and a one-inch-square with a series of pixelated black-and-white cubes called a QR Code.

In the coming weeks, Google plans to send out 100,000 of these stickers, each with their own QR code, to a new demographic of businesses Google is calling “Favorite Places”. These favorites are based on search results from users interacting with local business listings on Google Maps.

Full story here.

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LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #98

This week's podcast looks forward into the past with a replay of archival audio of President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressing the US Congress after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The dateline for this episode is the 78th anniversary of the event.

Also presented in the podcast was a brief discussion of the late-breaking story of Comcast's attempt to acquire a controlling interest in NBC Universal. There was originally going to be discussion of remarks by Rupert Murdoch concerning why news online should never have been free in the first place. The Comcast-NBC matter took precedence.

Related links:
FDR's speech at Archive.org
This installment of Profile America
MSNBC reporting on the Comcast-NBC matter
Greg Sandoval at CNET discussing the Comcast-NBC matter
One Reuters story on the Comcast-NBC matter
Another Reuters story in the matter
Discussion at the Erie Looking Productions blog of the recent coverage of remarks by Rupert Murdoch
MSNBC relaying an AP report on Google's new attempt to restrict how users can reach news sites
Linux Outlaws, a show produced by Sixgun Productions

Google Customizes More of Its Search Results

Google will start personalizing the search results of people who use the service without logging in, a move that may raise privacy concerns.

Article here

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