Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Planet Google" | Salon Books

"Planet Google" | Salon Books: "Stross provides particularly vivid accounts of several Google train wrecks. There was its troubled foray into digitizing books by the library-ful, which ran headlong into publishing industry fears about losing control of copyrighted assets. Its misbegotten plan to build a Web video service focused on carefully vetted professional content failed spectacularly, leading to the company’s $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube in 2006. Then there was the difficulty Google faced in persuading users of its Gmail service that machine-scanning their e-mail messages in order to display relevant advertisements didn’t constitute snooping on their personal correspondence.

In each of these stories, Stross presents a different Google from the one we think we know. As a search provider, Google is confident, competent and a master of “scale” — the ability to keep its results flowing speedily and accurately even as demand skyrockets. But as the company tries to branch out, it miscalculates, makes beginner’s mistakes, and fumbles seemingly obvious maneuvers — like, if you’re planning to digitize the contents of the world’s books, perhaps some conversations with the companies that publish them might be in order?"
Randall Stross “Planet Google: One Company’s Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know.” - Google Search


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