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Google Plans to Digitize Millions of Library Books

Google's founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, have long vowed to make all of the world's information accessible to anyone with a Web browser. Today that vow will come closer to being implemented as Google will sign an agreement with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web. Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford and the New York Public Library are some of the US institutions that will sign the agreement today. The whole project will convert about 15 million books at a cost of $150 million dollars or about $10 per book.

Last night the Library of Congress and a group of international libraries from the United States, Canada, Egypt, China and the Netherlands announced a plan to create a publicly available digital archive of one million books on the Internet. The group said it planned to have 70,000 volumes online by next April. Doesn't that just want to make you get out of your chair and shout! I don't know about you but I am excited.

As long as I am excited about Google I want to let you know that Google has been my home page for over seven years. Why would anyone want to have anything different? Well last week I changed my home page. Don't get worried, it is still Google but it is their new Google Suggest. This new service was released last Friday. It suggests queries as you type what you are looking for into the search box. By offering more refined searches up front, Google Suggest can make your searching more convenient and efficient, because it eliminates the need to type the entire text of a query. In addition, the service can connect you with new query suggestions that are useful, intriguing, and fun. Go ahead, try it, you might even make it your new home page. My guess is that in a few years this might be the main Google search engine.

While I am on the topic of Google, I have to tell you about the new version of Firefox 1.0. If you haven't switched to Firefox you simply must read my article on why you should do so immediately. Firefox isn't just for alpha geeks anymore. As of last week over TEN MILLION people have downloaded Firefox and installed it as their browser.

Many of you are already one of those ten million, but the majority of you probably don't know that Firefox comes preinstalled with search engines other than Google in its toolbar. I just found out the newest version has a neat feature where you can click the small triangle next to the bottom of the default "G" on the left of the Google search box and you will be able to use other search engines. There are three in there that I use all the time, eBay, Amazon, and Dictionary.com. But I recently was able to go to a Firefox add in page and with one click insert my favorite gadget blog Engadget so now it is one of the options.

USA Today December 14, 2004

New York Times December 14, 2004

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