Google Library

Written on 16 October, 2007 by Jonathan Crossfield
Categories News

Have you noticed the book icon that appears in some Google searches? It appears at the top of the organic search results for some keyword phrases (mostly really long tail search queries).

It’s part of the Google Book Project which aims to scan every book on the planet and then have them indexed so they can be searched. Using OCR (optical character recognition), for the last couple of years Google has hired a team of people who are attempting to scan every book on the planet so the content of those books is available online to be searched. Much like Google image search.

It’s a really fascinating little project, basically they specially designed machines to scan those books they couldn’t rip up and feed into a machine, that is like a ‘V’. The book is placed in the machine and an operator turns the pages and taps a button with their foot to take simultaneous photos of both pages.

As you can imagine there have been some problems with this. Copyright for one... Also the scans for a lot of books aren’t great. It’s delivering weird results too. It seems to deliver only the content. I have done a few tests and if you search for “Pride and Prejudice” you don’t get a reference to Google Library, but you do if you type the first line from the book. “To Kill A Mocking Bird” is the same. I tested it on books where I knew that the words don’t really appear in the books content. Google knows I want the book (as it delivers results in the search related to the book) but doesn’t deliver the Google Library...