Yes, Virginia, there is a Google Blog. I didn't know anything about it until a few days ago because it wasn't "hot." Corporate blogs tend to be greeted by the blog world with a collective yawn, as though real blogs can't be produced except by individuals, or at least a fairly small clutch of individuals not under anybody's restraining thumb. After all, that's the whole point, isn't it? What's the good of a blog if it hasn't the potential to rock at least one boat?
One of the advantages of being old is that I can be gauche without embarrassment. If I want to publish the fact that a blog has been around since April, 2004 and I only just found out, that's my privilege. It's about as exciting as the Discovery Channel, but hey, those guys had a documentary about Katrina before Rita hit, so don't get all snooty about documentary TV. I just wish I had more time to take it all in. Just now I would rather read about ants than put together another blog-post, but I promised myself I would stay on task when I started this blog.
One of last week's posts about Google Print published ("with that paper's permission" already!) an op-ed from WSJ worth reading.
Imagine sitting at your computer and, in less than a second, searching the full text of every book ever written. Imagine an historian being able to instantly find every book that mentions the Battle of Algiers. Imagine a high school student in Bangladesh discovering an out-of-print author held only in a library in Ann Arbor. Imagine one giant electronic card catalog that makes all the world's books discoverable with just a few keystrokes by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
That's the vision behind Google Print, a program we introduced last fall to help users search through the oceans of information contained in the world's books. Recently, some members of the publishing industry who believe this program violates copyright law have been fighting to stop it.
The writer advances the argument for this exciting new Google product, concluding with...
Imagine the cultural impact of putting tens of millions of previously inaccessible volumes into one vast index, every word of which is searchable by anyone, rich and poor, urban and rural, First World and Third, en toute langue -- and all, of course, entirely for free. How many users will find, and then buy, books they never could have discovered any other way? How many out-of-print and backlist titles will find new and renewed sales life? How many future authors will make a living through their words solely because the Internet has made it so much easier for a scattered audience to find them? This egalitarianism of information dispersal is precisely what the Web is best at; precisely what leads to powerful new business models for the creative community; precisely what copyright law is ultimately intended to support; and, together with our partners, precisely what we hope, and expect, to accomplish with Google Print.