Finally. After many years of reading about the universal dictionary (Robert Heinlein), the city fathers (James Blish), the house records (Frank Herbert), and the hitchhiker's guide (Douglas Adams), to name just a few, Google has finally decided to put all there is of human knowledge online.
All right, not quite all of it. But Google is working with the University of Michigan, Harvard and several other libraries to put millions (that's millions!) of books online. Scanned, spidered, and ready to read. Google has already started scanning some books; full details on what the program will entail are not yet available. Let's face it; given their past history with new programs, Google will probably still have this in beta with a couple million books scanned.
"Even before we started Google, we dreamed of making the incredible breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize searchable online," said Larry Page, Google co-founder and president of Products. "Today we're pleased to announce this program to digitize the collections of these amazing libraries so that every Google user can search them instantly.
"Our work with libraries further enhances the existing Google Print (TM) program, which enables users to find matches within the full text of books, while publishers and authors monetize that information," Page added. "Google's mission is to organize the world's information, and we're excited to be working with libraries to help make this mission a reality."
Google print lets you look at whole pages for free books and excerpts from copyrighted works. Revenue possibilities exist for ads delivered with content, buy-this-book links, and so forth. But I'm hoping that most of it will be free for the taking.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)