Monday, August 9, 2010

Google: 129 Million Different Books Have Been Published; PC World, 8/6/10

Joab Jackson, PC World; Google: 129 Million Different Books Have Been Published:

"For those who have ever wondered how many different books are out there in the world, Google has an answer for you: 129,864,880, according to Leonid Taycher, a Google software engineer who works on the Google Books project.

Estimating the number of books in the world is more than an exercise in curiosity for the search giant: It also provides a roadmap of some of the work still left to be done in meeting the company's ambitious goal of organizing all the world's information...

As of June, the company has scanned 12 million books, according to a presentation given by Google Books engineering manager Jon Orwant at the USENIX Annual Technical Conference in Boston. These books have been written in about 480 languages (including 3 books in the Star Trek-originated Klingon language) .

The company plans to complete the scanning of existing books within a decade. The resulting virtual collection will consist of four billion pages and two trillion words, Orwant said.

About 20 percent of the world's books are in the public domain, Orwant explained. About 10 to 15 percent of these books are in print. The remaining books -- the vast majority of all titles -- are still under copyright but out of print. Google is in the process of borrowing copies of these books in order to digitize them, from about 40 large libraries worldwide.

It's this act of scanning in books that are out-of-print but still covered by copyright that has been met with some resistance by the publishing industry.

The company is now waiting for a judgement from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, on whether it can scan these books. "

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