Op Ed by SERGEY BRIN - Co-founder of Google
New York Times: “THE fundamental reasons why the electric car has not attained the popularity it deserves are (1) The failure of the manufacturers to properly educate the general public regarding the wonderful utility of the electric; (2) The failure of [power companies] to make it easy to own and operate the electric by an adequate distribution of charging and boosting stations. The early electrics of limited speed, range and utility produced popular impressions which still exist.”
This quotation would hardly surprise anyone who follows electric vehicles. But it may be surprising to hear that in the year when it was written thousands of electric cars were produced and that year was nearly a century ago. This appeared in a 1916 issue of the journal Electrical World, which I found in Google Books, our searchable repository of millions of books. It may seem strange to look back a hundred years on a topic that is so contemporary, yet I often find that the past has valuable lessons for the future. In this case, I was lucky — electric vehicles were studied and written about extensively early in the 20th century, and there are many books on the subject from which to choose. Because books published before 1923 are in the public domain, I am able to view them easily. -- Read More
That library is Usenet, a vast internet- and dial-up-based message board system erected in 1980. Though moribund today, for decades Usenet was the paper of record for the online world, and its hundreds of millions of “newsgroup” postings chronicle everything from the birth of the web to the rise of Microsoft, as well as more trivial matters.
Asked if the bugs are documented anywhere, or if Google planned on repairing its library, a company spokesman was noncommittal. “We’re aware of some problems with the way search is working in Google Groups,” said Jason Freidenfelds, in an e-mail. “We’re always working to improve our products.”
This article explores the implications of a shift from public to private provision of information through focusing on the relationship between Google and public libraries. This relationship has sparked controversy, with concerns expressed about the integrity of search results, the Google Book project, and Google the company. In this paper, these concerns are treated as symptoms of a deeper divide, the fundamentally different conceptions of information that underpin the stated aim of Google and libraries to provide access to information. The paper concludes with some principles necessary for the survival of public libraries and their contribution to a robust democracy in a rapidly expanding Googleverse.
Here is a report of what happened this morning from someone who was in the front row of the court room. The real news: The parties are "targeting early November" to present an amended settlement. The parties would also propose a program for a “supplemental notice” to authors, publishers, and other rightholders in the class action.
ARL, ALA and ACRL have prepared a document to summarize key information about the hundreds of filings that have been submitted to the federal district court presiding over the Google Books litigation. After a summary of the case, the following half-dozen pages contain charts of who has filed in support of the settlement, and who has filed in opposition, along with brief notes about their reasons.
"The dispute over Google Books continues to rage in the courts and op-ed pages of the country. There are legitimate questions about Google, profit sharing and privacy. But let’s not let the litigation obscure that Google Books provides an unprecedented and irreproducible service to its users.
Libraries have been important for millennia because they could control access to valuable information. Now, that’s a strategy that leads straight to irrelevance.
A lot of smart librarians recognize the imperative of digitization but their institutions rarely give them money for such “low-priority” tasks."
Google is rolling out a new service on Wednesday that will allow users to post notes alongside Web sites that can be read by other users. The service, called Sidewiki, will be a new feature of the Google Toolbar, a popular browser add-on.
Full post at NYT Bits Blog
The parties in the Google Book Search Settlement have asked the court to adjourn the scheduled October 7th fairness hearing, telling the court the parties intend to amend the deal. "Because the parties, after consultation with the DOJ, have determined that the Settlement Agreement that was approved preliminarily in November 2008 will be amended, plaintiffs respectfully submit that the Fairness Hearing should not be held, as scheduled, on October 7," reads a memorandum appended to the parties motion to adjourn.
"To continue on the current schedule would put the Court in a position of reviewing and having participants at the hearing speak to the
original Settlement Agreement, which will not be the subject of a motion for final approval." The court is expected to grant the motion. Publishers Weekly reports.
Matthew Hurst: "To me, a librarian - a good one - is someone who knows firstly about the relationship between information and location and secondly about how to elicit enough information from the enquirer to leverage this knowledge. A really good librarian will actually be able to find you the right information, not just the book in which it is captured. Google's search engine has an entirely different model."