Google: Reading the Books Saga

June 1, 2009

You can flit from post to post about Google’s decision to sell books. Sigh. The New York Times presented the story as one of those summer blockbusters. You know. A single information product that floats the motion picture industry. If you missed Motoko Rich’s write up, you may be able to find it here. I will leave it to you to decide if this is the end of the studied indifference to Amazon or a stepping stone for “the digital Gutenberg”.

My views are set forth in the final installment of my Google trilogy: The Google Legacy (everyone will do what Google did to reduce the cost of online services), Google Version 2.0 (the shift from human and human centric methods of delivering information to mathematical precepts), and Google: The Digital Gutenberg (Google is the new River Rouge of electronic information). If you want to look at these studies which date from 2005, you can find more information here.

My take is that the Amazon-Google dust up is a David and Goliath skirmish. The Google Books affair is one step in a broader undertaking. The real action will be monitoring the dataspace of Google Wave. Wave is “new”, fuzzy, and interesting to nerds.

My suggestion is that publishers, journalists, pundits, and mavens will want to shift from shock and awe to the main theater. One needs to know at what to look and then prioritize Google’s activities. Sue Feldman and I prepared a report in September 2008 that provides additional insight. If you have access to IDC research reports, you may want to review Report Number 213562.

I used an illustration in Google Version 2.0 showing Sergey Brin as a magician, holding fire in his hand. In my opinion, folks are watching the fire, not the play itself.

Stephen Arnold, June 1, 2009

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