Tag Archives: Search

Fear of a Google Planet

The New York Times uses a painfully bad metaphore comparing Google’s Book Search program to Daniel Day Lewis in “There Will Be Blood.”

IN 2002, Google began to drink the milkshakes of the book world.

Back then, according to the company’s official history, it began a “secret ‘books’ project.” Today, that project is known as Google Book Search and, aided by a recent class-action settlement, it promises to transform the way information is collected: who controls the most books; who gets access to those books; how access will be sold and attained. There will be blood, in other words.

The article lays out the fears of some that Google is going to create some sort of evil book monopoly by scanning and indexing the collection of America’s (and maybe the world’s) libraries:

Robert Darnton, the head of the Harvard library system, writes about the Google class-action agreement with the passion of a Progressive Era muckraker.

“Google will enjoy what can only be called a monopoly — a monopoly of a new kind, not of railroads or steel but of access to information,” Mr. Darnton writes. “Google has no serious competitors.”

He adds, “Google alone has the wealth to digitize on a massive scale. And having settled with the authors and publishers, it can exploit its financial power from within a protective legal barrier; for the class action suit covers the entire class of authors and publishers.”

While the article does go on offer a number of solid counter-arguments, it is disturbing that the lead voice is that of, well, a scared Luddite.

Simply because Google is the only company willing and/or able to take on such a massive program is no reason to fear the amazing potential the program will have.  To be able to search and access the collections of any library from anywhere in the world is just not a bad thing.  In fact, it is a glorious thing to spread information and knowledge.

Will Google suddenly control all the information in the world by scanning and indexing it?  I don’t see that happening.  It certainly won’t be harder to access material via Google than it would be to walk in off the street to Harvard’s library and borrow whatever you want.  Try that one and see how far you get.

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Cuil Fails At Naming Itself. Preview of their Future Failure.

is anyone listening?

There is an overwhelming amount of press today about the new search engine cuil.com.

So far, I have learned that is was started by ex-Googlers and that it is pronouced “cool.”

Yes, nearly everyone is saying there is no way they can beat Google or even come close to competing in the search market for all sorts of technical reasons but I have yet to see anyone come right out and tell it like it is:

It will fail because nobody can pronounce it.  And when you finally learn how they would like you to pronouce their madeup word you feel like punching them in the face.

I never liked the whole “drop a vowel” school of web 2.0 site naming (fickr, et. al.) but this whole make up a word and make it sound like a word we already have is truly ridiculous.

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