Google’s nearly year-old Google Print program is set for a huge content expansion. Google launched a new program last week that allows publishers to submit material for inclusion more easily.
"We’re trying to make offline information like books searchable and available online. That’s a natural next step as part of Google’s mission," said Susan Wojcicki, director of product management for Google’s ad syndication programs.
Google is inviting publishers large and small to provide books to be scanned and included in the Google Print service for free. Books are accepted if they have ISBNs and are in any form of English (American, British, Canadian, Australian, etc.).
A key difference is the new program provides an automated, account-based service. Publishers can manage program elements, plus earn a share of ad revenues. The program now scans the full text of books, not just small excerpts.
Finding Book Content
Unlike some other Google services, Google Print isn’t a standalone service. Data from books and some magazines were integrated in the ordinary Web index. If deemed relevant, listings from a book may have appeared alongside Web listings.
Book content has now been removed from the Web index (magazine content will remain). Relevant book content will now appear in what Google calls a OneBox Results listing. This section is above the regular search results, where news headlines, shopping results, and local results are displayed (see examples).
It’s still not easy for a searcher to perform a dedicated search of book data in the way people can search for images, news, shopping, and other content types on Google.
That may come. Google promises to provide a special command in the future to help searchers find just book content. Down the line, the Google Print home page could possibly gain an actual search box. In the meantime, searchers must resort to workarounds, such as the one Tara Calishain recently cooked up.
For now, Google’s focused on promoting Google Print to publishers. When enough content is amassed, Google will promote the service to searchers more heavily.
"Think of this as us beginning to experiment with this content," Wojcicki said.
Amazon and Other Print Search Options
A chief rival to Google Print is Amazon.com’s Search Inside the Book feature. The service to date seems mainly a system designed to help Amazon sell more books by showing visitors some of the book’s content. Full book text is indexed through a program that also invites publisher participation. Amazon’s A9 service taps into Search Inside The Book, providing a more direct way for searchers to hit this material.
In contrast, Google Print isn’t designed to make Google money by selling books. Though it carries links to online booksellers, it earns no income from them, the company said. Instead, Google Print provides new content for Google’s AdSense contextual listings. The content effectively provides many more billboards where Google can place sponsored links.
Aside from the Amazon and Google programs, a number of smaller initiatives and other methods allow searchers to scan through full book text. Gary Price provided a rundown on these, and more about Amazon’s program, in an article last year.
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March 19, 2014