Google Books (previously known as Google Book Search and Google Print) is a service from Google Inc. that searches the full text of books and magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition, and stored in its digital database.
The service was formerly known as ‘Google Print’ when it was introduced at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2004. Google’s Library Project (also now known as ‘Google Book Search’), was announced in December 2004
Many of the books are scanned using the Elphel 323 camera at a rate of 1,000 pages per hour. The scanning process is subject to errors. For example, some pages are unreadable, or upside down, or in the wrong order. Book information such as authors, publishers, dates and so on, may be incorrect or abbreviated incoherently.
The Google Books initiative has been hailed for its potential to offer unprecedented access to what may become the largest online body of human knowledge [dead link] and promoting the democratization of knowledge. But it has also been criticized for potential copyright violations, and lack of editing to correct the thousands of errors introduced into the scanned texts by the OCR process.
As of April 2013, the number of scanned books was over 30 million, but the scanning process has slowed down. Google estimated in 2010 that there were about 130 million unique books in the world, and stated that it intended to scan all of them by the end of the decade
Visual artists were not included in the previous lawsuit and settlement, and are the plaintiff groups in another lawsuit, and say they intend to bring more than just Google Books under scrutiny. “The new class action,” reads the statement, “goes beyond Google’s Library Project, and includes Google’s other systematic and pervasive infringements of the rights of photographers, illustrators and other visual artists.”
May 2010 : It is reported that Google will launch a digital book store termed as Google Editions. It will compete with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and other electronic book retailers with its very own e-book store. Unlike others, Google Editions will be completely online and will not require a specific device (such as kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.).
June 2010: Google passes 12 million books scanned.
August 2010: It was announced that Google intends to scan all known existing 129,864,880 books by the end of the decade, accounting to over 4 billion digital pages and 2 trillion words in total.
December 2010: Google eBooks (Google Editions) is launched in the US.
March 2011: A federal judge rejects the settlement reached between the publishing industry and Google.
March 2012 Google passes 20 million books scanned.
March 2012 Google reach settlement with publishers.
January 2013 Google and the World Brain documentary is shown in the Sundance Film Festival.
April 2013 Google’s database encompasses more than 30 million scanned books.
November 2013 Ruling in Authors Guild v. Google, US District Judge Denny Chin sides with Google, citing fair use. The authors said they would appeal.