Friday, November 14, 2008

Google Books

Anybody taken Google books for a spin? Please do.

I spent some time a few days back seeking information on South Indian/Kerala history in the 1900s and I quite liked it. I loved that some of the books which showed up in the search were published in the 1900s (digitized from Harvard and other libraries). I like the ability to build a digital library, search through books et al. Neat. They have even created hyperlinks on digitized books - that let you go from the TOC to the actual page. Do note that every book is not available - some are full view (those that are considered to be in the public domain), some are limited preview while some are neither, but from a search perspective and considering many of these books would never be found by us, it is simply amazing. Sadly, publishers are not very happy with google, have filed a suit and settled it at some level. I wish Google converts this into some sort of subscription model and gets publishers to digitize and upload their content. Ideas that spread win, guys. Today many people dont even know your books exist. What better way than to make it available...

This is really a model that can run on a subscription model - imagine searching through all books digitally - that isnt possible in a library now. I mean, given the dearth of "real" libraries, something like this is a godsend.

To track how it is evolving, read their blog...

Now that is available on the google network (or the internet or your phone) - the logical next step is to read using your phone. Hmm. Is it a Kindle killer already?


Nikhil Narayanan said...

I have been hooked to this for quite sometime now.
I have read books on India and Kerala published in 1700s and all.
It is interesting to read old census reports and gazettes.
May be at the expense of spoiling one's eyes. :(

BharGo said...

Yup... was researching on Maratha History and could only find Grant Duff's Trilogy on Google Books! But still prefer the old fashioned books... as nikhil said... my eyes cant take the strain!