January 2007 Archive
Last week, Bowker announced an agreement with Microsoft that its Global Books In Print database will be used for "basic and value-added data that will enhance descriptions of books incorporated in the new Live Search Books." Considering that Live Books are primarily out-of-print, out-of-copyright books and that Global Books In Print covers, surprise, in-print books, it would be interesting to know how many matches between the two are found. I have yet to see any examples. Today, Google announces the addition of geographic data to its books. Books are analyzed for place names and a Google Map with a list of names and text snippets appear on some books' "About this book" page. It includes some snippet, limited preview, and full text books. According to Google,
When our automatic techniques determine that there are a good number of quality locations from a book to show you, you'll find a map on the "About this book" page.The only way to find out if a particular book has been so analyzed is to look at that book's "About this book" page.
At Search Engine Land, Danny has a long report about Google indexing and ranking issues. While other sections of the post talk about an update to the visible PageRank, issues with supplemental results, and duplicate content, I found the short section on the
filetype: command most interesting. Like some of Google's other field search prefix commands,
filetype: results in zero records unless it is combined with another search term. So
filetype:xls finds nothing, but this is supposed to change sometime in the future and will finally let us run a
filetype:search without requiring an additional term. Does this mean that other field searches will be able to be run separately as well? We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you'd like to get all the results Google will give you for some unusual file type, there is an easy way around the additional term requirement.
I'm somewhat surprised that I've not heard more librarians complaining about this. I had not really considered all the ramifications about it. Philipp Lenson on Google Blogoscoped posts about Freeing Google Books. Basically, he notes that Google scans public domain books available from libraries and then appears to add further restrictions for those books including restricting commercial republication and the removal of the "digitized by Google" mark. Since that bothered him, he has pulled 100 titles from Google Books and "set them free" on his own Authorama Public Domain Books site (with the "digitized by Google" mark removed).
Microsoft announces that they will be updating the aerial imagery in Live Local. Over 400,000 square miles of U.S. aerial imagery are supposed to "enhanced with high-resolution coverage." Interestingly, Greg Sterling notes that the imagery provider, GlobeXplorer, "was acquired by DigitalGlobe, which is one of the primary providers of imagery for Google Earth." That may cause some shifting of source data among the various geographic search engines in the future.
Apparently, there was enough outcry over Google's self-promotional "tips" that they have removed them. When even Google's own Matt Cutts complains about them, I am not at all surprised to see the tips removed. They were actually removed last week, and I'm finally getting around to posting about it. Whether or not the tips were over the top and too intrusive or not, Google responded well. They received a fair amount of criticism for these tips, even while others like Danny felt that the complaints went too far. In this case, Google seems to have decided that it would be best to remove the tips. So, kudos to them for listening and responding so rapidly.