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Microsoft The Internet

Microsoft Joins Yahoo! Book Search Plan 128

tanman writes "The BBC is reporting that Microsoft has signed on to 'work with the Open Content Alliance (OCA), set up by the Internet Archive, to initially put 150,000 works online. The move comes as Google faces growing legal pressure from publishers over its own global digital library plans.'"
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Microsoft Joins Yahoo! Book Search Plan

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  • Replicate... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Archon ( 13753 )
    ...never innovate.
    • by MushMouth ( 5650 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:32PM (#13882899) Homepage
      The internet archive has been involved with this for more than 8 years. Amazon also has had the search inside the book for longer than Google has been running google print.
      • So why don't publishers go after Amazon in court??
        • Maybe it's because they show the covers and the table of content... And also because they sell it afterwards. Like in a library, just seek through a book then buy it... If you use Google you're not in an "buying mind". And then you have Amazon, an online store. I guess that's why.
          • If you use Google you're not in an "buying mind". And then you have Amazon, an online store. I guess that's why.

            Thing is, if I understand Google's goals correctly, they don't want to display the whole book online, they want to index the content to show in their search results - that way anyone in a 'buying mind' will be able to get a list of books that fit their topic. Bottom line is fair use is fair use. Either Amazon is violating copyrights, has an agreement with the publishers that allow them to sho
        • Because amazon asked the publishers if they wanted to be included in "search inside the book" instead of demanding that the publishers tell them if the didn't want to be included.
  • www.openlibrary.org (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:51PM (#13882560)
    www.openlibrary.org is the website for content of the Open Content Alliance.
  • Conspiracy (Score:4, Funny)

    by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:57PM (#13882609) Homepage Journal
    This is obviously a MS conspiracy to "digitize" all forms of print media, thereby making paper irrelavent, and thus create a lack of work in the pulp industry, which will reduce deforrestation, and unemployed loggers will have to work in salt mines that Bil Gates owns. The miners will need to sign up on Yahoo Messenger, but they won't realize that Y! is merging protocols with MSN Messenger next year, and since they already have MSN passports they'll have duplicate identities. They'll forget to use one of the identities, so that Microsoft clones can take over their unused identity, and thuse a clone army will be born to crush Google.

    And you thought it was a simple effort to make it easier to access print resources online! Ha!
    • Re:Conspiracy (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Oh, I can imagine, in a few years time, M$ will suggest that you can only use Internet Explorer 9.infinity to view these online "open" materials. Nothing else will work.

      I can see it now.

      "Welcome to the OPEN content Alliance. Unfortunately, you are not using Internet Explorer/book reader/whatever..." "Please download and install the MICROSOFT reader, available only on VISTA. Enter your credit card number here: "...etc.

      I like Google's ideas much, much better.
  • by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:58PM (#13882621)
    It's interesting whenever I hear publishers crying out about Google's plans to digitize books. Invariably, Google says something like "hey this is good, this can help sell eclectic books!" and then everyone wonders what the fuss is, and why are publishers getting their panties in a bunch?

    One important fact that's overlooked, though, is that if Google has digital copies of all those pieces of works, that "digital database" could be stolen or comprimised. If that were to happen, publishers could never totally eradicate all the stolen books that would be floating around on the Internet or dark nets.

    Furthermore, it's possible that technical weaknesses in Google's online book search implementation might be used to reconstruct the entire book. For example, search for what you know to be the first sentence in a book. When Google returns an excerpt with the second, third, and fourth sentence, then just do another search for the fourth sentence, and Google will return an excerpt with the fifth, sixth, seventh sentence, etc. I'm not claiming that's how Google's search feature will work; I'm merely presenting the possibility that technical weaknesses might be exploited to the detriment of the publishing industry.

    • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:09PM (#13882711)
      When Google returns an excerpt with the second, third, and fourth sentence, then just do another search for the fourth sentence, and Google will return an excerpt with the fifth, sixth, seventh sentence, etc.

      Why not just go to B&N or Borders and read the book at that rate? I'm sure someone who is willing to go thru the pains of reading a book in that fashion would never actually buy the book. Who would invest this kind of time and effort into reading a book when they can just do it the traditional way and fork out a couple of bucks and save themselves the agro?

      This is also like saying I can goto my local bookstore and write down the contents of a book in a notebook, thus robbing the author of hard earned cash... but think about it, you go to copy a 20 dollar book, spend 10 dollars on notepads and about 50 hours to actually do it... who the hell is going to do that?
      • When Google returns an excerpt with the second, third, and fourth sentence, then just do another search for the fourth sentence, and Google will return an excerpt with the fifth, sixth, seventh sentence, etc.

        Why not just go to B&N or Borders and read the book at that rate?

        Because you could get a computer to do the searching automatically, and reconstruct the entire text in a matter of minutes or hours, and upload it to eCamel for the entire world to download.

        • You think Google wouldn't have safety measures against that?
          • You think Google wouldn't have safety measures against that?

            Exactly! Why don't the other posters get that concept.

            yes, smart asses, I'm very well aware of the ease of automation. I'm also aware at the ease of defeating these simple methods. Such an exploit would not last for very long.

            I swear, people don't take the time to think about things of this nature.
            • You're asking the publishers to trust Google to implement a system that can't be exploited, or to fix exploits before too much damage is done. Given the pagerank-stealing fiasco, I wouldn't invest that trust in anyone, and I say that as a Google fan and Google Mail user.
              • Given the pagerank-stealing fiasco, I wouldn't invest that trust in anyone, and I say that as a Google fan and Google Mail user.

                I'm a google and g-mail user as well so I have nothing against google. But the pagerank issue is exactly why they will try to cut this kind of abuse off fast. A lot of up and coming companies make really sophmoric mistakes, Google knows at this point that easy exploits will not be tolerated and will damage their reputation. They have too much riding on this to let this slide.
        • Google has a limiter. A single account or IP can only get x snippets from a book.
      • Why not just go to B&N or Borders and read the book at that rate?

        It should be really bloody obvious, but copyright infringement via Google can be automated, while copying things onto a notepad can't. Once one person writes the program to copy things off Google, EVERYONE can copy things off Google with minimal effort (with the wrinkle that Google would no doubt make ongoing server modifications to try to break said program).

        Or did you, and all the moderators, sleep through the past decade of skyro

        • The real difference is the mode of consumption. You have no difference between watching a copied or an original movie on your PC monitor or TV but there is a big difference between reading a book on paper or reading it on the screen. The only people that should have those worries are those producing pure reference books that are never read but only used to find specific information but those have problems in times of Google anyway.
          • This is an excellent point. There are already several [gutenberg.org] places [baen.com] online to get free books, but how many people take advantage of them? Without some exceptional change in the technology, people, it seems, will continue to read books in their current form rather than electronically.
          • You have no difference between watching a copied or an original movie on your PC monitor or TV...

            No difference? For most people (please note that I say 'most,' not 'all'), it's a choice between watching on a 17-inch screen in their den sitting on an office chair, with tiny computer speakers, compared to sitting in your living room on the couch, with a screen twice as large, and a good chance that you've got a decent sound system to go along with it. And yet, downloading movies and watching them on your P

            • Spoken like someone who has no idea of how many illegally copied books you can find online.

              But how many of them are ever read? That's more to the point. There are tons of people who horde digital media from a p2p and never use the majority of it. I'm assuming that this is true of books as well, people download them with the intention of reading them at a later time but either find out that e-books are a hassle or just never revisit the idea. Why do you think that no e-book retailer has gone gangbusters li
      • Who would invest this kind of time and effort into reading a book when they can just do it the traditional way and fork out a couple of bucks and save themselves the agro?

        No one is concerned about someone reading the book that way. The concern is over someone copying the book that way and then splatting the copy all over the Internet. Right now, book traders buy books, cut them out of their bindings, scan them, and put out digital versions in a variety of formats. With highly anticipated titles, this of

      • I'm sure someone who is willing to go thru the pains of reading a book in that fashion would never actually buy the book. Who would invest this kind of time and effort into reading a book when they can just do it the traditional way and fork out a couple of bucks and save themselves the agro? I doubt it would be that hard to write a program to do it. If people can automatically sign up 100 accounts for a website without lifting a finger, this would be nothing. Bing bang boom, after a couple minutes of runn
    • To be fearful of something because it might be mis used, or not technically perfect out of the gates is silly. The idea ist gut. The result will be good. Embrace the goog-oply.
    • by jhoger ( 519683 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:21PM (#13882800) Homepage
      A) I don't see that as a leak of that size as a likely scenario. That much data doesn't escape by accident.
      B) Oh what a nightmare if it did and we had an electronic backup of every book in existence...

      The fact is that copyright infringement of books is already easy. All it takes is an automatic document feeder and a good PDF generator. $500.

      It's happening and it will continue to happen. But Google is acting very responsibly so the publishers are better off with them than leaving users to their own creative pursuits.

      I seriously doubt that illegal trading of music would be so big if iTunes or something like it had been around from the beginning. But the industry couldn't get their act together.

      -- John.
    • Yes, digital databases can be stolen, but then again, I could digitize books and bit-torrent them (I don't use bittorrent or fileshare, for the record) or whatever. I think you're overestimating people's motivations. Getting a book four sentences (or even a page) at a time would take days. Buying/Borrowing it and scanning it would be much faster, and when you add in time and power costs, probably cheaper.

      I don't see what the threat is from either search engine, as I would never, ever buy a book to read
    • Maybe it's time for ' DVD John [wikipedia.org]', who cracked Google Video player in less than a day, to change his name in 'Print John'...

      Sooner or later someone will be able to develop software to hack into the Google database. For sure Google can not guarantee 100% that it won't happen. This reason might be enough for some publishers to not participate.

      The advantage of books till now is that they can't be copied digitally easily as opposite to music or video. So book publishers might not want to enter the digital e
    • I would expect that Google would not display context past the end of the chapter, so you'd have to know the beginning to each chapter. Also, any technical book with illustrations or figures would be useless for harvesting, if the text relied on the illustrations to make the point. Sure, it might be possible to game Google Library, especially for a novel, but it's going to be more difficult than buying it, or borrowing it from the library.
    • I am not saying this is how it will work ...
      speculation is needless; read the Google Library Project FAQ and become informed.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've been thinking about doing something just like that for a _long_ time. With Amazon's Look Inside the Book technology.

      Simple, really. Grab the first few pages (i.e. the jpg files) until it tells you you can't go on. Then search for the last word on that page (the page you stopped at), go to that page, then continue on for a few more pages. Once you have them all, compile into an eBook and put up a torrent. All automated.

      Add some autodiscovery of books code, let it run for a few months, maybe add some pro
    • If that were to happen, publishers could never totally eradicate all the stolen books that would be floating around on the Internet or dark nets.

      They can't do that anyway. Someone could just as easily transcribe/OCR the book into an etext. We don't need Google to steal the world's literature for us, we can manage it just fine on our own.

      Once it's in digital form, it can never be completely eradicated. There will always be someone on a P2P network or with an FTP server or an Angelfire page with the file avai
    • One important fact that's overlooked, though, is that if Google has digital copies of all those pieces of works, that "digital database" could be stolen or comprimised. If that were to happen, publishers could never totally eradicate all the stolen books that would be floating around on the Internet or dark nets.

      No, it's not an important fact. What you are overlooking is that anyone can OCR a book and put it on the internet and release it into the wild in perpetuity right now - and I bet there's a lot

  • Opt-in System (Score:5, Informative)

    by CSHARP123 ( 904951 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:00PM (#13882633)
    This is an Opt-In system compared to googles Opt-Out deal. Google should follow MSN and Yahoo on this one. If you look at the contributors [opencontentalliance.org] this could really go strong.
    • Actually the two systems are completely apples and oranges.

      The Google system is a search system through open and closed content.

      The Open Content Alliance's goal is to make the content available.

      So the Google system should be able to index OCAs work just as Yahoo will do.

      The overlap comes in areas where Google has already secured rights or where the work is in the public domain, in which case Google is providing the content as well.

      The "opt-in" part of making your content available is available to everyone i
    • Google should follow MSN and Yahoo on this one.

      Yeah, and I'm starting a new search engine that will only index pages whose copyright holder's permission I've secured. It won't be nearly as useful, but it will avoid possibly upsetting content producer's. Never mind that opt-in indexing and searching will limit it to a tiny subset of works and most works will be permanently excluded since most copyright is held by unknown and pretty much uncontactable parties. All sarcasm aside, the open content allianc

  • by brewsterkahle ( 635187 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:09PM (#13882717)
    The press has concentrated on Microsoft's joining which is fantastic, but we also had 14 key libraries join which is also great news.
    http://www.opencontentalliance.org is a good site for this stuff.

    Something I am jazzed about is a cool bookviewer at http://www.openlibrary.org/ [openlibrary.org] showing the first books from University of California sponsored by Yahoo! and the "vision book" there tells the story of what we envision and some of the announcements.

    onward!

    -brewster Digital Librarian Internet Archive (administers the Open Content Alliance)
  • by kaleposhobios ( 757438 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:12PM (#13882732)
    As far as I understand it, Google is merely indexing the works, so one could locate a book, and would then be able to get it from somewhere else. This (Microsoft) idea is to actually make the full texts available. Both services are useful, but they are very certainly two different services.
    • Both projects actually aim to do the same thing, although their approches will vary. Google's plan is to digitize and index every single book in the world. While this work is done, each and every author/publisher can opt out, by sending word that Google is not to let their books available to read. Google will still let a small amount of text to be read of these books as specified by Fair Use. Fair use in this case is still being determined by the courts, under two seperate lawsuits. Google is working with
  • by Safe Sex Goddess ( 910415 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:12PM (#13882736) Homepage Journal
    I like Google's version better. How do we sign on as supporters to their version of the project? Do they have something set up already for local public and school libraries to be able to use? That seems like one way that they could get a lot of endorsements and awareness from the public about what they're doing.
  • I have one simple demand. I want every single book, magazine, and recording available on the internet. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of books and periodicals that are unread and unsearchable right now because they are rotting away in some library or private collection. Human knowledge needs to be preserved and expanded. Is it unreasonable for me to be able to have access to every single textbook on C++? Forget the legal issues. We'll get some country to pass a law that it is ok to
    • "Is it unreasonable for me to be able to have access to every single textbook on C++?"

      Why yes, it is unreasonable to have every textbook on a programming language.

      I'd hate to think of how long it would take to compile.
  • From the article (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Skiron ( 735617 )
    "Microsoft said it would initially focus on works already in the public domain. This opens up a whole new innovation from Microsoft that will allow all users access to otherwise restricted works - if they have a Hotmail account and use MSN messenger on XP sp2" Yeah!
    • "Microsoft said it would initially focus on works already in the public domain. This opens up a whole new innovation from Microsoft that will allow all users access to otherwise restricted works - if they have a Hotmail account and use MSN messenger on XP sp2"

      First, how are works in the public domain "otherwise restricted"? They're in the public domain, right?

      Second, Project Gutenberg [gutenberg.org] has already done a pretty darn good job of posting works in the public domain. They have 16,000+ books online alr

  • The enemy... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kars ( 100858 )
    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Well, friend... We -are- talking about Microsoft here. I'm wondering when Yahoo will find MS's knife in its back.
  • by BradNeuberg ( 3364 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:28PM (#13882862)
    I'm one of the software engineers who worked on the Open Library's Flipbook viewer. I just put up a blog post with further technical details on what we have done here:

    http://codinginparadise.org/weblog/2005/10/introdu cing-open-library-and-ajax.html [codinginparadise.org]

    Check it out.

    Brad Neuberg
  • When Google and Yahoo get done with this, I'm going to search for all instances in the public domain of the word "a". Any wagers on the number of search results?
  • Would it mean that the new releases of MSOffice would have Thesaurus referencing literature works for the examples of word usage [google.com]?
  • Parallels! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mister_llah ( 891540 )
    USSR -- US ... Cold War...

    Yahoo -- Google ... Search Engine Cold War!

    ===

    Seems to be a game of 'who can do the most and seem the coolest'...

    This is simultaneously good and bad for everyone... (kind of like the Cold War)
  • Quoted from "Microsoft to offer book search" [com.com]:

    "Principally and philosophically, we are aligning with the notion that intellectual property should not be proprietarily owned by any commercial company," Tiedt (MSN manager) said.
  • ...if we can get some of those out of print Windows programming books from this. You know, the ones that go for $150 used.
  • Required reading (Score:3, Insightful)

    by metallichica ( 924455 ) <becky@bexgd.com> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @02:11PM (#13883230) Homepage
    Once they start putting college texts online, then we'll talk. Paying $160 for the book that you use for one semester, and getting $30 for giving it back to the school so that they can resell it again next semester for $175... Psshhtt. Let's talk searchable texts, or downloading only one chapter for a partial price. Kind of like iTunes - don't want the full cd? Buy one song. Novels? Give me the paper version any day. Of course, the sooner I go blind from staring at the beautifully unnatural glow of my computer screen, the sooner I don't have to worry about this issue anyway. How about something that gives suggestions based on what you've read? We have that for music, shouldn't be too hard for books. There are so many possibilities available to us if these things are available online. Everyone is so uptight about "rights" that they don't see what can really be done. The problem isn't the people that "steal" - it's the system that's not working. When you overcharge for something, people find other ways of getting it. They share books. They download music and movies. Instead of persecuting them, take a look at why the system is having problems, and fix that instead.
  • Is Microsoft already resigning to playing second-fiddle to ALL of Google's ideas? Can they not innovate anything on their own?

    Microsoft is an industry-leading company (whether y'all like it or not) -- for them to begin copying everything Google does establishes Google's domination over them.

    They just keep making the door wider and wider for Google to step right into their own markets with behavior like this. I firmly believe that the Microsoft marketing machine is making some serious mistakes in their fig

    • Is Microsoft already resigning to playing second-fiddle to ALL of Google's ideas? Can they not innovate anything on their own?

      What have they 'innovated'? Flight Simulator was bought from the Bruce Artwick Organization. Viso was purchased. Solomon from Great Plains Software. Excel came from the same spreadsheet software the 'others' came from. Even Hotmail was purchased from someone else. Has Microsoft released anything that wasn't already available or previously available under the original/previous owne

  • Microsoft: We'll help in your project. But we'll make the files unreadable to all other pieces of reader software by breaking standards and making people pay hundreds of dollars to access your free files.
  • I'm glad they're doing something even if its only scrap work to something someone else already came up with. The idea of having digital versions of all books available to all(ala startrek) is a wonderful thing. Its a sad thing that we can't do all books under copyright or work out some sort of agreement. Knowledge to all.
  • Sounds like a nice idea, but for some reason I just can't feel any enthusiasm for anything Microsoft does these days; only irritation and anger. In this case, there are bound to be strings attached that will make this new book-searching service of theirs pretty much useless to non-Windows users. Everything always has to tie into their monopoly product. That's their core business strategy and that's the way it'll remain until something (Linux?) or someone (Google?) succeeds in making Windows irrelevant.
  • Microsoft + Yahoo runs absolutely no risks by doing this, as opposed to Google. I think Google's aims to "please everyone" just happened to backfire this time around. While it's a good idea on paper, it wasn't one in reality thanks to the regular copyright paranoia.
  • in the same sentance without the words "destroy" or "useless" between them? Nevahr!
  • Sunny Day! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EraserMouseMan ( 847479 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @03:33PM (#13883904)
    I grew up in a beach resort. You could walk into any grocery store and pick up a free booklet titled Sunny Day. There would be helpful maps, tips for tourists and cool coupons.

    So was everybody walking around talking about how Sunny Day is so good for humanity and is a beacon of light in a greedy world? No. Everybody knew that Sunny Day was making money on the publication. That's why they put out the booklet. If they couldn't make money on it anymore, guess what? No more free maps. No more free coupons.

    Google is just a big Sunny Day. They want to make money. They think free maps are cool, sure. But if free maps, free email, freely searchable books, free internet searching, etc. didn't contribute to advertizing dollars anymore they'd probably put those on the back burner and work on other projects that made Google richer.

    MS wants more money and so does Google. Google just gives away free stuff.
  • The combined holdings of the key libraries Google is working with is staggering. Each library has millions of volumes (admittedly, many duplicates). The number mentioned by the OCA is 150,000 volumes to start. I imagine the OCA, if it works out, will ramp up that number. Still, it is inconsequential compared to Google's very ambitious goal.

    "Microsoft: Your Passion, Our Profit."
  • Why do all the big players have do everything the next guy is doing? I miss the days when companies actually focused on one, two, or a few things. It seems like this is no longer the case.

    -Slashdot Junky

Egotist: A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. -- Ambrose Bierce

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