Google Book Scanning Tech Stripped Bare

January 8, 2010

The Google seems to be sitting back and letting some wizards in Japan explain how Google scanning works. Patent documents don’t make much sense to my dad. If you have access to universities participating in a Google Books scanfest, you have a shot at seeing what happens. Oxford University’s a good place to start in my opinion. If you are not in that part of England or another university on board with the Google, you can read “Google’s Book Scanning Technology.” For me the most interesting comment was:

Researchers Nakashima, Watanabe, Komuro, and Ishikawa of the University of Tokyo have published an article fully explaining and providing pictures of a system nearly identical to that in Google’s patent. It is not clear whether the Japanese researchers or Google came up with the idea first, but the University of Tokyo article does an excellent job of explaining the book scanning technology.

I quite like the phrase “came up with the idea first.”

My thoughts:

  1. This article may make clear to those in the publishing business exactly what resources the Google Book project has commanded. I am not sure that the Google will back down or even slow its scanning. Too much skin in the game.
  2. The method for dealing with distortion is math centric. Big surprise. What’s interesting in the patent documents is how much math. I don’t think most publishers have had an appreciation of what Google math can do. A lot in  my opinion.
  3. The article does not make too much of speed. My blundering around uncovered some data that suggest the Google method zips along at an order of magnitude or three faster than more traditional systems. If you are not up to speed on the throughput of systems like those in use at the former UMI, the notion of scanning speed won’t make much sense. In a word, fast—the Google scans, corrects, blasts to disc, and links metadata without dragging its high heeled sneakers.

Worth a quick read in my opinion. You get pictures and even a video.

Stephen E. Arnold, January 8, 2010

I must reveal that I am not a PR shill, a paid writer, or even much of a waterfowl in winter. I will report this sad state of affairs to those who think I am a public relations flack and, of course, to the Rural Housing Service, a fine group monitoring blogs from Kentucky.


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