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Google Betas Google Print 183

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the print-on-demand dept.
Chronic Infection writes "Google is beta testing a book search service called Google Print. Here is a list of books included to date." Quick spot checking turned up excerpts like this one for The DaVinci Code, a great book if you haven't read it.
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Google Betas Google Print

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  • Page rank in books? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Karamchand (607798) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:33AM (#7821731)
    Quote from Google Print FAQ [google.com]: During this trial, publishers' content is hosted by Google and is ranked in our search results according to the same technology we use to evaluate websites.

    Now I wonder how this is done. Google's PageRank uses links from other pages to rank results - but in usual books there aren't any "hyperlinks".
    Could anyone offer me insight into this? - thanks!
  • by mschaffer (97223) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:33AM (#7821733)
    "...a great book if you haven't read it."

    I cant resist asking:

    So how great is it if you did read it?
    • Must be one of those books that everyone talks about but noone has actually read, because the book is really just a bunch of obfuscated nonsense. Those who actually have managed to read the whole book keep the secret well and are idolized as gods.
    • So how great is it if you did read it?

      It's a pile of sacrilegious hog wash.
      • It's a pile of sacrilegious hog wash.

        Yes, logic has that tendency.
      • It's a pile of sacrilegious hog wash.

        Yes, things like facts, insight, logic, common sense tend to come across as sacrilegious to those that blindly follow something written 2000 years ago by a bunch of men.

        Remember, God didn't fax the bible to mankind...it was written by a bunch of men wanting to control the masses. And for the past 2000 they did just that. But people are getting smarter and they know they're myths. It's dying out.

        Thank God!
        • "Yes, things like facts, insight, logic, common sense tend to come across as sacrilegious to those that blindly follow something written 2000 years ago by a bunch of men...[the bible] was written by a bunch of men wanting to control the masses."

          Those fishermen? Was that what they were trying to do, control the world? Is that why they all died gruesome deaths?

          Here's something really interesting: I know of people who accept novels as historical authority!

          You really sound like you know what you're tal

          • No, not the myth of "those fishermen". I'm talking about "the church" and all the control and death and wars....take your pick.

            How else could you control dirt poor people except by telling them you hold the key to their everlasting lives. Their immortal souls.

            This crap actually has grown people beliving that there's this invisible man...and he lives in the sky! And he watches everything you do 24/7...every second, every act you do. And he has this list of 10 rules (with one being that you have to believe
        • >>It's a pile of sacrilegious hog wash.

          >Yes, things like facts, insight, logic, common sense tend to come across as sacrilegious to those that blindly follow something written 2000 years ago by a bunch of men.

          >Remember, God didn't fax the bible to mankind...it was written by a bunch of men wanting to control the masses. And for the past 2000 they did just that. But people are getting smarter and they know they're myths. It's dying out.


          Personally I tend to doubt people are getting smarter, m
          • I wasn't talking about that book in general. Just commenting on "pile of sacrilegious hogwash" comment.

            Yes, the long long long written lecture during the car chase was a bit much. I personally thought it was just an "ok" book. Certainly not worthy of all the praise that people heap on it.

            Also, there wasn't anything new I learned there that I didn't know before. Not that I gleen my beliefs from novels...even ones written 2000 years ago.
        • Remember, God didn't fax the bible to mankind...it was written by a bunch of men wanting to control the masses.

          The bible is a collection of writings from 40 different authors... now, these authors lived in different eras spanning some 1500 years, as well as in different areas all over the middle east, and in different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek). It is inaccurate to say that these men wanted to control the masses. What future men did in, for example, the Catholic church may be different, but th
          • You're correct. I was refering more to The Church than the actual writers of the bible. I should have said the EDITORS of the bible were more concerned with the control.

            • Interpretation is the key. The Bible, like other influential literature, has been read and understood in different ways through-out its history. Christian merchants in the roman empire did not use their readings of the bible to control the masses. Those masses were largely not christian but various pre-christian pagan religions depending on the region.

              By the time Christianity became an official state religion anywhere it had long ago been written, edited, interpreted and reinterpreted.

              Fortunately for the

    • It's bad. Wretched. If you have to burn one book this winter to keep warm, make it The DaVinci Code -- but only if you got the copy for free. No sense wasting good money on it.

      The writing itself is atrocious -- it seems to be aimed at the reading level of a rather slow third-grader. It constantly uses a silly suspense gimmick, asking a question (literally, in dialog -- no subtlety here, folks!) and then postponing the answer for a few chapters while the author cuts away to some other action. As ineptly as
  • Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bwdunn (85165) <bwdunn@gmail.com> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:33AM (#7821734) Homepage
    This is simply amazing. First it's amazing that publishers are allowing such a thing. It's also amazing to imagine what we only be in the immediate future for all of us. Knowledge at our fingertips, from web sites, and now from online books whose publishers realize that many, many people will read parts online but will want to purchase a dead tree to read the whole book.

    I know Amazon did this first, but I love to see Google taking up the idea. Google is simply my favorite company in the world. They don't take crap from (mostly) anyone, and they run Linux across the board. They are an undeniable force.

    It may be risky, but I for one will be investing in Google the moment they release their stock. This is a terrific company and the people that are running it are terrifically smart!
    • Now I'm not an investment banker or anything , but personally Id wait for them to release there numbers before I started investing .
      THen again I am a bit biased because I'm working on a searching product.
    • Re:Amazing (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I know Amazon did this first, but I love to see Google taking up the idea. Google is simply my favorite company in the world. They don't take crap from (mostly) anyone, and they run Linux across the board.

      Would it be OK if Microsoft had stolen the idea?
    • First it's amazing that publishers are allowing such a thing.

      It would be amazing if publishered allowed web users to read the content online. But they don't. You can only search it.

      The Google Print FAQ has some vague prose about "experimenting with online content", but no specifics beyond this little search experiment. Which just duplicates a similar feature at Amazon. Bringing the Google search engine to bear isn't that big a deal -- what use is page ranking when nobody can directly link the pages?

      It

    • It's not so amazing since most publishers who accepted Google's proposal had probably already been convinced by Amazon's "Search inside" program.
  • by medication (91890) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:34AM (#7821736) Journal
    This is definitely a step in the right directions, but it's just that - a step. I'd really love to have access to a digital library (d.l.) in much the same I have access to one in the real world. I wonder if Ben Franklin came under as severe commercial pressure as those who are trying to push for a digital library available to all?
  • Excerpt? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gassendi (93677) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:34AM (#7821738)
    Most of the alleged "excerpts" are nothing of the sort. They're just bibliographic entries.

    This would be a really useful service if they could distinguish between the books that have *actual* excerpts and those which just had descriptions, TOCs, etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:35AM (#7821744)
    Not really related to Google directly, but still useful. In a user .css file (you can specify it in IE's accessibility options or Opera, or use userContent.css in your Mozilla/Firebird profile chrome directory): .readerImage {
    display: inline !important;
    }

    That's it. Really simple.
  • by glassesmonkey (684291) * on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:35AM (#7821745) Homepage Journal
    Currently there are 52 books in this database. (Use this google search [google.com])

    But it is an interesting idea. And might yield more useful results for information seeing as the bar for publishing a book is a little higher than getting a webpage listed in google.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      On the first Slashdot search [google.com], I see 9990, of which a few aren't books. In your search [google.com] I see 6530, although after page 9 it says stuff is repeated, so maybe there's only 900+ books. Regardless, many more than 52 or 53.
    • I count 558 books, but maybe I am searching wrong. How can I get the 900 plus count? What is the url? Thanks in advance!
    • Seems more like 793 [google.com] to me...
    • I noticed that on the first page of results I had 750 results. That was what it showed until about page 10 or so, and then it showed thatr there were only 175 results. What's up with that? Are authors/copyright holders having them pulled, or is it something to do with the beta-ness of the service?
  • by Xpilot (117961) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:37AM (#7821750) Homepage
    ...another step to sentience. Don't tell me I didn't warn you when Google starts taking over the world and starts creating robotic assassins...

  • I am a Jedi Apprentice
    "Using full-color photos from Star Wars: Episode II, I Am a Jedi Apprentice explains to younger fans what it's like to be a Jedi apprentice."

    I don't care about ads to buy crap books online. I wish someone would do something about making available books that AREN'T available for sale any more instead.
  • DaVinci Code??! Bah that is just going to start a flame war.. this [google.com] would have been a better /. example..

    The fireworks were by Gandalf: they were not only brought by him, but designed and made by him; and the special effects, set pieces, and flights of rockets were let off by him. But there was also a generous distribution of squibs, crackers, backarappers, sparklers, torches, dwarf-candles, elf-fountains, goblin-barkers and thunder-claps. They were all superb. The art of Gandalf improved with age.

  • Does that imply that if you have read it, that it's not a great book?
  • Just to note (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JanneM (7445) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:44AM (#7821782) Homepage
    The DaVinci Code is not really all that good. The basic premise is fascinating, and the euthor may or may not be very knowledgeable about his subject matter, but the story itself is just too full with very tired thriller cliches - I mean, a six-foot tall Albino as the immediate villain? Please. /Janne
    • The DaVinci Code is pretty much like a literary Irwin Allen disaster flick, but less entertaining. Find yourself a copy of Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned. Same ground is covered, much more entertaining.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Google has been slowly adding features for years. Google groups
    used to be dejanews. Google answers, google taskbar (includes pop up
    blocker), image search, catalogue.

    What could google add in the future? It has to be add supported,
    not upset their current advertisers and be somthing they could do well.

    Look out iTunes et al if google ever starts selling music.
    Google movies if the MPAA ever descided to sell films online
    for a resonable cost.
    Google instant messenger.
  • by linuxwrangler (582055) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:48AM (#7821797)
    I just looked at the excerpt of "The Partner, Large Print Edition" but unfortunately the font was the same as for all the other books.
  • I can't deal with the clumsiness and poor results of Google anymore...and now Google's everywhere.
  • by mr_lithic (563105) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @10:58AM (#7821823) Homepage Journal
    This seems similar to the large research indexes that I used to find books and articles on certain subjects.

    They were not as detailed as this or as comprehensive but if this actually gets going, it will be an incredible aid to researchers. Currently, only about a small percentage of the information I use is on the web. Most of it is in libraries and research collections and is difficult to access.

    This will provide information on which books and papers (if periodicals are included) I need to start getting a hold of for my research.

    Man, students these days have it easy!

  • Bible (Score:3, Funny)

    by CEHT (164909) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @11:01AM (#7821829) Homepage
    Out of all the wonderful passages in the Bible, they only included the Inside Flap. Although everyone I know always has a copy somewhere, but - come on - give us more!!! Holy Bible Excerpt [google.com]
    • What I like even more is the copyright at the bottom of the page:

      No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


  • by GeekLife.com (84577) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @11:02AM (#7821831) Homepage
    is available with a particularly phrased Google search [google.com].
  • I have much more e-books downloaded from p2p. (around 10,000). I should make my own book search engine. :)
  • The DaVinci Code [google.com] has been on the bestseller stand at the bookstore I work at for a while now, so it must be good, right? right, which would mean Ann Coulter has something worth reading...

    (actually, I'm happy to say she's been kicked off by the likes of Al Franken, Molly Ivins, and Michael Moore. go my friends!)
  • There seems to be a new google section popping up every other day. What ever happened to the days when people actually know how to use a search engine with advanced searches.
  • by herrvinny (698679) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @11:31AM (#7821922)
    I have, and really, it's not that great of a book. What makes it a bestseller is that it provides new insights into the Catholic Church, and, in the course of the fiction story, weaves in a good nonfiction tale.

    It really is fascinating reading, like proclaiming that the Holy Grail, long thought to be a chalice (see Monty Python and the Holy Grail [imdb.com]) is actually the remains of Mary Magdalene, and the quest to find her remains and to pray by them. It also says that with Mary's remains, there are boxes of old documents with proof that the Church was involved in a conspiracy, made Mary out as whore when really she might have been Jesus's wife.

    IMHO, I think this book was designed as a nonfiction book first (the story of Mary, etc) and then the fiction part was made up, so to help burn away the ire of the Catholic Church. I hear this book caused quite a stir in the Vatican. The thing that might have saved it was probably that it was styled as a fiction book.

    If you want to read some interesting insights into the Catholic Church, read this book. If you're looking for a good fiction title, forget it. You're better off acquiring a copy of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen [amazon.com] or something else from the classics.

    • Yes, yes. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sethadam1 (530629) *
      I have read every Dan Brown book and many Jane Austen books. I don't know why I feel like a pussy when I tell people that I love Jane Austen stories, probably because they are all pretty much the same chick-flick kind of story: a lower-middle class adolescent woman in fear of becoming a spinster finds the right man but he does not reciprocate the interest, so she suffers in silence rather than confess her love for him and when proposed marriage from another well-to-do man, even if it puts her, undeservingl
      • Yes, I like Jane Austen books too. Austen books are mostly romance, and follow a predictable storyline, true, but they're still fascinating.

        Yes, I know there are a lot of /.ers reading this and going "bah, loser, he's not a true geek". Who says a (male, straight) geek can't be a lover of the classics? Everyone should read a few good classics. They'll really broaden your horizon.

        I'll make sure to pick up one of Brown's books the next time I'm in the library.

    • by Fished (574624) * <amphigory AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:15PM (#7822331)
      In my opinion, as a non-Catholic but a Christian who is working towards a Ph.D. in Historical Theology, the book is errant nonsense. There is no serious argument offered in support of its core premise, just a bunch of fictional "academics" stating as "fact" a bunch of speculative crap that no serious person in the field takes seriously.
      • This may be so, but I think it's interesting postulation, at least. A lot of the theological conclusions that are reached (such as saying that Mary was Christ's wife) bring a different perspective than is contemorarily taught throughout Christianity/Catholicism. It seems to me to put more emphasis and importance on the sacred bond of marriage, the inter-dependence of men and women in a healthy relationship, and the human side of Christ's diety: he was both man and God, afterall.

        I don't claim to know these
        • I don't claim to know these things as fact, or anything like that. I do think it interesting, though, and I don't personally see it contradicting anything in the Bible.

          We could start with the assencion... As the theory is stated in DaVinci Code, the Magdalene hypothesis requires that Jesus live substantially beyond the resurrection and father a family with Magdalene. More to the point... It would be theologically interesting to suppose that Jesus was really a woman, or that he was really had purple ha

          • It would be theologically interesting to suppose that Jesus was really a woman, or that he was really had purple hair and a fro (cf. Godspell) or that he really never existed. But we have no evidence for any of those conclusions, any more than we have significant evidence that he ran off and had kids with Magdalene. ... any more than we have significant evidence that he didn't...

            Arguing or discussing religion logically is silly, given that it's rooted in faith. It's all theory.
          • As the theory is stated in DaVinci Code, the Magdalene hypothesis requires that Jesus live substantially beyond the resurrection and father a family with Magdalene.

            So, then, you obviously haven't read the book, because it "requires" nothing of the sort; the statement in the book is that MM was already pregnant at the time of the crucifixion, and fled the holy land afterward, accompanied by Jesus' uncle. It's heart-warming to see that your academic credentials enable you to critique a book you've never

            • Well, for what it's worth I had read the book. I may have been confusing the statement of the Magdalene theory in DC with another statement of it (this has been proposed, and rejected, for at least fifty years.)

              I would expect it to be self-evident that a flip conversation on /. does not conform to the same rules as a research paper. If I *were* writing a research paper on DC (who would bother?) I would have re-read the book much more carefully. But, in case you haven't noticed, /. is not a research for

    • Here's an article that discusses the book and some of the factual errors in it:

      Dismantling The Da Vinci Code [ewtn.com]
    • I hear this book caused quite a stir in the Vatican. The thing that might have saved it was probably that it was styled as a fiction book.

      Unlikely. The basic conspiracy theory has been being spread around for at least 800 years now, and you can buy self-proclaimed nonfiction like "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" and "Bloodline of the Holy Grail" and similar nonsense from Amazon or in your local bookstore.
    • I am not sure where the new insight is. The Holy Grail interpretation is interesting, but no that relevant since most consider it a symbol whose form is not important. Giving it a form related to Mary Magdalene and creating a conspiracy simply restates the old notion that part of the goal of The Church in creating the testaments was to destroy the Goddess based religions. This was done through Eve and Magdalene. Jesus' mother Mary was the only vestige left of the Goddess and she was given a clearly subs
    • > think this book was designed as a nonfiction book first

      Close, its based on a conspiracy theory book called Holy Blood Holy Grail which makes the same assertations about Jebus. I think HBHG continues on to say that the bloodline of the kings of Europe are based on the children of Jebus and sexy Mary.

      The Da Vinci code really just adds a fictional framework to this old conspiracy and frankly a xtian conspiracy theory thriller sounds as exciting as a day in Church. Interesting how well its selling in A
  • ..., for The DaVinci Code, a great book if you haven't read it. Unfortunately, I read it..., and I prefered it as a great book.
  • soon I'll be able to find that lost sock after washing clothes on google.
  • I agree with the majority of posters: The Da Vinci Code sucks. At its core, it's a trite, predictable murder mystery -- though some easily-impressed readers seem dazzled by the author's very superficial use religious/mystical imagery.

    For the real thing, you want to check out Umberto Eco's The Name Of The Rose (the book, not the film).
  • The Davinci code formula: 1) Use fictional characters to present speculative nonsense about real people and organizations as "proven historical fact". 2) Sell millions of copies to suckers who know nothing about church history or serious Biblical scholarship and don't know how absurd the whole premise really is. 3) Profit! With much thanks to the educational system for more or less eliminating history from the curriculum.
    • Seems you're getting a bit worked up over a work of fiction. Historical books about what the catholic church has actually done throughout the ages are much scarier.
      • I know what the catholic church has done, and its certainly no worse (and perhaps a bit better) than what many secular organizations have done. Lest we forget, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao were all avowedly atheists and secularists. Certainly, the idea that the catholic church (and no, I'm not catholic) has been engaged in some vast conspiracy for the past two thousand years to conceal the descendants of Jesus through Mary Magdalene is so far from reality as to be completely absurd. Yet, as a minister, I've
        • Not to be a total jerk but, the entire premise of religion isn't exactly based on fact. Yes, you can find documents stating that certain historical persons existed at one time or another, and you can debate what they may or may not have done. At the end of the day it still comes down to faith, do you believe or don't you? Authors have started religions/cults before. Maybe he wants proceeds from his next book to be tax free?

          I'm not at all religious and have not read the books so I can't really argue with yo

          • Whether you accept the claim or not, Christianity does claim to be based on historical fact:

            3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7

            • Quoting a book does nothing to prove if things occurred or not. I can have a chat with my neighbor right now and we can write corroborating stories about how I levitated to the top of the telephone pole to save his grandma who was put there by aliens from outer space. That doesn't mean it happened.
              What I'm trying to say is that you believe what you read in the bible because you already believe to begin with. What makes those stories more true than greek, roman, or norse mythology, or scientology and rasta
              • What I'm trying to say is that you believe what you read in the bible because you already believe to begin with. What makes those stories more true than greek, roman, or norse mythology, or scientology and rastafarians in more modern days even?

                Well, for starters I don't think that much of Classical mythology was ever taken to be historical, even by most adherents of those religions. At least, that is what I've always been told. It comes down to question of intent - there's no reason to think that Hom

  • by willith (218835) on Sunday December 28, 2003 @01:09PM (#7822296) Homepage
    Questia [questia.com] does somthing similar--they've digitized ~60,000 books, chosen by a panel of librarians for their scholarly value (mostly liberal arts titles), and allow full-text searches of the entire library. Questia is marketed as a tool for writing research papers--the service keeps track of what books you've looked at and will automatically build a bibliography and do your citations for you in the format of your choice.

    They use an indexing system similar to Google's to keep full-text searches of the library in the sub 1 second range, and the whole thing is pretty slick. Searches are free, and they show the book, publishing info, and the page number of the search result. To actually see the text, though, you have to be a subscriber.

    Footnotes and citations are live-linked to their referenced sources, if those sources are in the Questia library, and every book is stored in XML, which keeps the original pagination (including illustrations). A neat side-effect of the XML tagging is that you can search for implicit things (like themes or genre or subgenre) as well as explicit things (keywords). Questia spent the better part of two years securing the rights of each and every book on the service, but it really is a cool idea.

    Disclaimer--I worked for Questia for a couple of years, although I left in 2001.
  • i read the excerpt from The Da Vinci Code. seems like a fun book. but what are "numeraries"?
  • If you read the google information for publishers, they seem to want only publishers who publish a LARGE amount of content each year.

    If you are a self-published author, you can pretty much forget about your book or books being covered. Likewise if you are a seller of old, out-of-copyright works, antiquarian books, etc.
  • I just come to realize that there are approx 800+ books available in Google Print. Why don't they also cache the books and book lists from The Online Books Page [upenn.edu] at Penn Library (~20000+ listings)? They have links to books like: Relativity HTML [bartleby.com] or Gutenberg text [upenn.edu] by Albert Einstein, Bibles 94 items found [upenn.edu], etc...
  • This book is absolute drivel. The cliffhangers are especially geared towards "young readers" - they hang for about three paragraphs (don't want to strain your brain), then its back to the one-dimensional "brilliant idiot" characters and laughable (and now very old and tired) conspiracy theory plot that hasn't been new since the 60s.
  • The author's "research" which many have praised so highly, that is his new "insight" into the Catholic Church and its history, is mostly bunk.

    The scary thing is that many intelligent persons (like many who frequent /. ) take it to be entirely credible.

    Please read the following for a closer and harder look at the "research" behind the Da Vinci Code . . .

    Dismantling The Da Vinci Code [crisismagazine.com]
    • Good lord people. This book is complete fiction. Any "history" revealed in this book is engineered to either support the plot of this fiction novel or to just be something that the reader will hopefully find interesting. Is fiction really that difficult of a concept to understand? To clearify, it is a fiction novel, which means he is going to make up the whole damn thing. If he happened to base any part of this book on some sort of actual research then he is already going above and beyond his call of duty a
  • From the article:

    It turns out that not all the world's information is already on the Internet

    I hope nobody needs to have that pointed out to them! Nice to see that Google's taking a hand in making it slightly less true, though.

  • This is less properly described as "book search", than as "book advertisement service". In other words, that's all excerpts in that list of "books".

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