[Foundation-l] In defence of Google

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Mon Jan 22 08:11:06 UTC 2007

Ray Saintonge schreef:
> Gerard Meijssen wrote:
>> Anthony schreef:
>>> Don't take my word for it. Read up on what Brewster Kahle from
>>> Internet Archive had to say about Google Book Search, or find out more
>>> about the Open Content Alliance he co-founded largely to respond to
>>> it.  "They don't want the books to appear in anyone else's search
>>> engine but their own, which is a little peculiar for a company that
>>> says its mission is to make information universally accessible," Kahle
>>> said.
>>> "Google, for instance, is digitizing some great libraries. But their
>>> contracts (which were actually secret contracts with libraries – which
>>> is bizarre, but anyway, they were secret until they got sued out of
>>> them by some governments) are under such restrictions that they're
>>> pretty useless... the copies that go back to the libraries. Pretty
>>> much Google is trying to set themselves up as the only place to get to
>>> these materials; the only library; the only access. The idea of having
>>> only one company control the library of human knowledge is a
>>> nightmare. I mean this is 1984 – a book about how bad the world would
>>> be if this really came about, if a few governments' control and
>>> corporations' control on information goes too far."
>>> I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to choose sides on this one, and I'm
>>> going with Kahle, not with Google.
>> I have read enough to learn why Google is getting the opposition to its 
>> program. I agree with that opposition. However, you will also have read 
>> that Bruster Kahle acknowledges that his project is very much a reaction 
>> to the Google project. The opposition that exists is not unlikely to 
>> have Google to reconsider its position. When we consider Google a 
>> friend, we can as a friend discuss these issues. When we consider Google 
>> an enemy, we will not even try to engage in a conversation.
>> I object to see enemies everywhere, I prefer to see friends that have a 
>> different outlook, friends that may be convinced to consider an other 
>> approach. I think this approach is more productive.
> While I understand that we must find accomodation with Google, it would 
> be naive to give them our complete trust.  We don't know if their deals 
> with the libraries are exclusive ones that would prevent anyone else 
> from doing the same thing.  For now, database protection laws are 
> limited to Eueope, but if they were to be adopted in the United States 
> they would be give a tremendous advantage to Google which could then 
> develop a user pay system for which only they are capable of providing 
> convenient access.  The major future problems will not be with the 
> publishers who are currently in court with Google.  Control of the old 
> material whose copyright has already expired will make for a far more 
> important battle.  For now I don't think we have the funding or 
> organization to challenge them, certainly not by ourselves.  Whether 
> that level of collaboration can coallesce among a wide range of open 
> access supporters is unclear.
> Ec
When PD material scanned in the University of Harvard is digitised, it 
is still PD material. This means that there is no reason why the same 
book from the University of Amsterdam or where ever cannot be digitised 
with the same sterling results. The biggest advantage that Google has is 
first mover advantage. This can be quite crucial. However, when Google 
were to charge for access to this data, the back lash would be 
sufficient to invigorate all the other projects aiming to digitise 
content and kill off much of the good will that many people have for 
Google. This is something I think they do not need explained.

I am positive that when there is a manifest need for making the books 
Free because of Google making it not available for Free to the public, 
the money and the will available to challenge Google will be sufficient 
to seriously harm Google in its reach. This will not stop at books, it 
will include search  Remember who the person of the year 2006 is..

When a peer to peer search system becomes available, it is particularly 
the organisations that currently pay Google for their adverts that will 
have an interest in sharing some of their storage and bandwidth. The 
question would then be how to factor that in the search results; one way 
would be to make sure that their stuff is ALWAYS up to date..


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