Google: The Bibliophile

July 9, 2018

I love to read. Apparently Google is reading more than I ever could. According to Quartz, Google is officially going to start reading more and turning to books to answer questions: “Google’s Astounding New Search Tool Will Answer Any Question By Reading Thousands of Books.”

Google’s brand new search engine is called “Talk To Books.” The best way to describe Talk To Books is that it is like a huge full text, academic database, but instead of the content being listed individually it is all completely searched. Google described it more eloquently: thousands of writers discussing one question. Talk To Books works like a regular Google search, except the search engine searches for results in 100,000 Google Book entries.

What makes this interesting is that this could potentially be an academic and research worthy search engine. Futurist Randy Kurzweil and TED curator Chris Anderson discussed Talk to Books in a recent TED talk and how it will not take over regular Google search:

“Kurzweil noted that Talk to Books is not meant to replace keyword search. It uses “semantic search,” drawing on the ability of the tool’s AI to understand natural human language. Results range from goofy to profound, but semantic search’s goal is to call up a sentence that sounds like a plausible retort a person might say in a conversation.

The main goal of Talk To Books is to stimulate creativity and generate new ideas. As Google struggles to innovate, perhaps this service can jump start Google Ventures, Google X initiatives, and Google acquisitions. Ideas are one thing. Meaningful innovation is another. Google, it seems, is discovering books as a source of knowledge value.

Whitney Grace, July 9, 2018


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