Google to Sell $20/Month Laptops

Google will begin renting laptop computers for $20 per month, a senior Google executive told Forbes. The laptops will run Google's Chrome OS, a computer operating system that does away with local storage and applications in favor of a Web browser...and only a Web browser. The browser, of course, is Google Chrome. Initially, the $20/month laptop package will only be offered to students, the report states, but it is surely a precursor to Google's greater ambitions, in both educational institutions and the enterprise.

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Google Doodle Honors 76th Birthday of 'Mr. Men' Author Roger Hargreaves

Google is celebrating what would have been the 76th birthday of children's author Roger Hargreaves with a series of homepage doodles depicting characters from his popular Mr. Men and Little Miss books.
Google doodlers have crafted more than a dozen versions of the company's logo featuring the cartoon characters from Hargreaves' books, from Little Miss and Mr. Tickle to Mr. Happy and Mr. Messy.

Hargreaves' career as a children's book author started in 1971 when his young son asked him, "What does a tickle look like?" To explain, Hargreaves created Mr. Tickle, a small orange man with a big smile, tiny blue hat, and very long arms. That spawned five other characters—Mr. Greedy, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Happy, Mr. Bump, and Mr. Sneeze—the books for which were first published on August 10, 1971.

Full article at PC Magazine


Ruling Spurs Effort to Form Digital Public Library

A judge’s derailment of Google’s plan to build a digital library and bookstore was seen by some scholars and librarians as a chance to pursue a better universal public library.

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Creating a digital public library without Google's money

Like other authors and researchers, I'm conflicted about the project. On the plus side, the vision of a widely accessible digital library is a worthy one that is, for the first time in human history, technologically achievable.

On the other hand, Google was plotting to acquire effective control over millions of works whose copyrights belong to others.

Full article in the LA Times

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Google as ENEMY

The United States of America has a history of uniting its often uncooperative and sometimes antagonistic citizenry in profound and unthinkable ways when the country perceives an outside threat to its peace and safety.

For the most part, the recent history of this country has been one of success and prosperity, or at least one where the prosperous became more so, and because of that complacency spawned from prosperity, this country has never seen the need to create a National Digital Library. (Also, because Capitalism is good for America. I claim poetic license for hyperbole.)

[see: "Why We Can't Afford Not to Create a Well-Stocked National Digital Library System" or any of the other posts lamenting this American FAIL.]

But Google saw the need. Well, if not the need for the country, then the need for Google. As Google digitized books, it increased its digital domain and lay the groundwork for new continuous streams of ad revenue.

So Google did what the rest of the country could not and went ahead with the project. And the people cheered. Until some others pointed out what was really happening.

So now, in the most recent history, the hero of American and even worldwide book digitization, has been declared a villain as the Google Settlement was struck down in federal court.

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A Digital Library Better Than Google’s

Op-ed by Robert Darnton in the NYT

ON Tuesday, Denny Chin, a federal judge in Manhattan, rejected the settlement between Google, which aims to digitize every book ever published, and a group of authors and publishers who had sued the company for copyright infringement. This decision is a victory for the public good, preventing one company from monopolizing access to our common cultural heritage.

Nonetheless, we should not abandon Google’s dream of making all the books in the world available to everyone. Instead, we should build a digital public library, which would provide these digital copies free of charge to readers. Yes, many problems — legal, financial, technological, political — stand in the way. All can be solved.

Full piece here


Research Libraries See Google Decision as Just a Bump on the Road

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Research Libraries See Google Decision as Just a Bump on the Road to Widespread Digital Access
By Jennifer Howard

Judge Rejects Google Books Settlement

Adding another chapter to a long, drawn-out legal saga, a New York federal district court has rejected the controversial settlement in a class-action suit brought against Google Books by the Authors Guild, a publishing industry trade group.

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The Googlization of Books

As the wait for a decision on the Google Book Settlement approaches the one-year mark, PW talks with the author of the forthcoming book, The Googlization of Everything, about the Internet giant's expanding dominance. Excerpt: In his new book, The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry) (Univ. of California Press) Vaidhyanathan explores the young company's increasingly dominant role not just online but in our lives. "What is most fascinating about Google to me is its effect on us," the author tells PW. "Its effect on the media business is interesting, but I wanted to write a book that could inform a casual Google user about some of the hazards and habits of Google. In that sense, my book is much more about us than it is about Google. In fact, the critical faults of the story I tell are ours, because we've become so addicted to getting more stuff, faster, for free." Full piece at Publisher's Weekly

Google Revamps Search Engine to Fight Cheaters

From the Wall Street Journal


Google Inc., long considered the gold standard of Internet search, is changing the secret formula it uses to rank Web pages as it struggles to combat websites that have been able to game its system.

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