Wednesday, October 26, 2005


This morning CNBC reporters Becky Quick, Mark Haines and others demonstrated a lack of understanding in regard to Google Print. No wonder the public is confused, even the financial reporters do not study their subject before blathering on.

Google Printdoes not allow anyone to read copyrighted books. Google Printis simply an electronic card catalogue that allows users to find information about books. For example, if you want to find a book that mentions elephants you can find a long list by searching Google. Just like in a card catalogue, you might see a sentance or two with the word elephant used. This is to supply context. The sentance might be about the elephant in the room or the elephant in jungle. Clearly the potential reader needs to know the context in order to know which book to read.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article this morning about the Google Printbenefit to the world. The benefits are huge. Consumers will be able to find books from libraries or stores as a result of searching Google Print. The publishers and authors will benefit by making money and society will benefit because having information available is valuable.

We are talking about changes here that are on the order of the Gutenberg Press and the discovery of paper. In the 25 to 75 years after the invention of the Gutenberg Press, there was an explosion of invention, discovery and sharing of information. The changes were the spark to the protestant reformation and to the industrial revolution.

Google Printis here to stay. MSFT and Yahoo are now scanning books into similar services. The "old line" wealth media owners can fight in the courts for a while but they don't expect to win. They are simply willing to play "dirty" to give themselves a chance to catch-up. Consumers should be on the side of Google. Who amongst us wants to continue to be force fed advertisements and to pay high fees for services that can be supplied more efficiently by companies such as Google ,Yahoo, EBAY, AMZN and the AOL division of TWX. It is the companies such as TWX, Viacomn and News Corp that are most conflicted. It is hard to keep one foot in the "new world" while standing with the "old world" in opposition to the new world.

The market is more powerful than any one of these players. If Google. is somehow stopped, another internet firm will blaze new trails. Years from now, we will be amazed to think that "in the old days" one had to travel to a library to check out a book. In the new days, consumers will still buy books and authors and publishers will still be paid.