Thursday, August 11, 2005
In October 2004 we announced a program called Google Print, a way for publishers to make their books discoverable by the millions of people who search on Google every day. Shortly thereafter, we added a complementary program to help find all books more easily by partnering with libraries to index their collections too. The goal of Google Print is ambitious: to make the full text of all the world's books searchable by anyone. These books are hard to find now, and for most of them, no full-text search exists. We think that making books easier to find will have a positive impact on the world, and we welcome the challenge.
As with many ambitious ideas, Google Print has sparked a healthy amount of discussion. And we've been listening. Over the last few months, we’ve been talking with numerous publishers, publishing industry organizations and authors about our Google Print Publisher Program and Google Print Library Project. Today I’d like to mention two new features that reflect these discussions and which we feel will considerably improve both programs.
If you’re in the Publisher Program (or you decide to join it), you can now give us a list of the books that, if we scan them at a library, you’d like to have added immediately to your account. This way you can have your books in Google Print, which will put them into Google.com search results, direct potential buyers to your website, provide ongoing reports about user interest in your books, and your books will also earn revenue from contextual advertising – even if they are out of print.
We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order to introduce their work to countless readers around the world. But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too. So now, any and all copyright holders – both Google Print partners and non-partners – can tell us which books they’d prefer that we not scan if we find them in a library. To allow plenty of time to review these new options, we won’t scan any in-copyright books from now until this November.
We're going to continue talking about Google Print with our partners and the publishing industry. These discussions have been crucial in helping to build a program that benefits the industry and, most important, the millions of users who'll be able to discover new books. Stay tuned.
*Update: People have been asking us how we came to this new policy for the Google Print Library Project. We consulted with a variety of constituencies and ultimately decided that this new approach would best balance the rights and needs of users and publishers while remaining consistent with our web search policy. Google automatically indexes content across the web. Most web publishers find this service convenient and useful, but we gladly offer those who prefer that we not index their site a way of telling us not to do so via a robots.txt file. Similarly, the Library Project aims to make it convenient and useful for publishers to get their books into Google Print, but those publishers who don't want to take advantage of this service can now simply tell us which books they'd like us to exclude.