Amazon v. Google

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Amazon's desire to supplant Google as the reference site of the Net has evidently spurred it to approach publishers with a scheme to allow full-text searching of many nonfiction works. There are many details to be worked out, but the upshot would be an increase in the amount of info the average computer user could access.

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  1. I predict that Amazon will buy Google – or vice-versa. Within five years.

  2. Oooo, full-text search of books online….suuuuweeeeet!

  3. Amazon’s service would be a great one. That is definitely one of the things that is missing from searching on the internet…the content of books!

    I don’t know if they’d buy each other or merge, but a partnership will probably come about.

  4. I think I’d prefer, rather than full-text search, a search index based on the actual book indexes. It might cut down on false hits, or search hits that mention the search term but which don’t really use it in a meaningful way.

    Then again, lots of books inexplicably lack an index.

    But what I’d really love would be if you could download index information for all the books you buy, and use it with a desktop application to search for things in the books you already own.

  5. “… the plan appears to be part of a strategy to compete with online search services like Google and Yahoo for consumers’ time and attention.”

    Fat chance.

    I don’t go to a search engine just to inquire about BOOKS. (Search engines happen to point to a plethora of info, OTHER THAN BOOKS.)

  6. Jon H – that is an absolutely great point, and I entirely agree. If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to cite or quote something from a book I recently read and could only vaguely remember, but couldn’t find where the hell in the book it was no matter how I tried…why, I could buy a whole lot of books!

  7. I’d like to see Amazon’s “recommendation” programs try their hand at full-text searching. I envision a situation where Amazon remembers what type of things you searched for (say, fighter jet info and batman comics) and then automatically doe full text searches for things it thinks you might enjoy (such as an interview with the designer of the bat-plane in the batman movie). That’s kind of a goofy example, but I could see predictive, proactive search “recommendations” really giving them an edge over Google…

  8. I like Amazon’s database, but when they took over CDNow the artist cross-reference tool on CDNow was eliminated. Which I found to be quite useful. I’d prefer Amazon try to put that back in before being another search portal.

  9. If you don’t want it to be copied, then don’t put it out on the internet. (Duh!)

  10. Then again, I’ve seen some cleverly protected material on the internet that absolutely refuses to be copied. They’ve got some thingamajig protection built in that disables the print and copying features on your system.

    Smart.

  11. Does the word “Copyright” ring a bell. You can search all you want, but if you do not have the rights to the material………..

  12. Jon H-

    I think another problem besides lack of indices is that many books have atrociously bad ones. If Amazon can do for full-text searching (pageranking) what Google has done for Web pageranking, it will be much better than the index hurridly churned out by the intern over the course of an afternoon. A really relevant full-text search is much better than a poor to mediocre index.

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