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Microsoft Science

Microsoft Releases Book Search 108

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft is releasing its Live Search Books, a rival to Google's Book Search, in test, or beta, version in the US. The digital archive will include books from the collections of the British Library, the University of California and the University of Toronto. Books from three other institutions will be added in January 2007. All the books currently included in the project will be non-copyrighted but later it will also add copyrighted work that publishers have given permission to include in the project."
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Microsoft Releases Book Search

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  • Publisher info (Score:5, Informative)

    by AugustZephyr ( 989775 ) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @01:32PM (#17148230)
    Publisher information for adding content to Windows Live Book Search through the Windows Live Book Search Publisher Program can be found here: []
  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @01:39PM (#17148354)
    Anyone remember

    I'm waiting for google to buy a huge book publisher next, put the whole catalog up, and sell ads..
    • by cafard ( 666342 )
      Google did it a long time ago

      Ah, but it didn't count then. It's MICROSOFT doing it now. So that's in-nuv-a-shun, see?
    • Anyone remember
      Yes, Microsoft does. I can't help but wonder if their goal since they are 100 opt-in (as opposed to Google being opt-out) isn't to give bullets to those who want to sue Google for indexing all the books they can get their hands on : see, Microsoft ask for permission, why not Google!
  • by Gopal.V ( 532678 ) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @01:39PM (#17148366) Homepage Journal

    I see some sort of strategy here - something very similar to what MSFT adopted against Apple, very succesfully - Building something that is cheaper, virtually the same - almost.

    But the same rules may not apply in the world of online tools. Where GOOG is actually borrowing content to attract their actual product (i.e the users) whom them can then sell to customers (i,e advertisers) - Microsoft doesn't seem to have such a clear cut monetization plan from the looks of it. Seems to be more a case of dump enough money to smother the competitor approach, which I doubt will work with Google today.

    I for one, would be more scared of Amazon and other publishers rather than such a half-hearted (peanut butter) effort by MSFT.

    • Building something that is cheaper, virtually the same - almost.

      Isn't Google already free? Hard to be cheaper than that -- unless MS is going to pay me to use their service.

      • by moranar ( 632206 )
        ...unless MS is going to pay me to use their service.

        Well, lots of people pay Google for a privilege: that of their ads being shown on the service. It's how Google makes money. So Live could make advertisers pay less (or more efficiently, which amounts to pretty much the same, but is much more interesting and difficult to do) for ads.

        • by ejp1082 ( 934575 )
          They pay Google because that's where the stuff they want to buy (eyeballs) are. Cheaper ads don't make a lick of difference if no one is looking at them.
          • by moranar ( 632206 )

            Which is where my other phrase, "more efficiently" comes into play. I acknowledge a "normal" IT startup would have problems running against Google. It's not that Microsoft doesn't have them, it's the sheer amount of money it has to face them. They also have name recognition, which -surprisingly- they don't use this time: going to shows they don't attach a "Microsoft" to the service, as they usually do. OK, they put a Windows this time, but it's not exactly the same (it actually should be "Microsoft

    • Drown the competition. Kill the baby. Let the competition burn out.

      They've done this WindowsCE, to some degree of success. SinCE WinCE started, approx 7 years ago, they've been making a huge loss -- spending far more than the revenue form WInCE licenses. Other players actually have to live off their revenues, so they tend to pass out from hunger.

      They've done this with IE. Now they're trying to do this to Google.

  • More than so (Score:3, Interesting)

    by El Lobo ( 994537 ) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @01:41PM (#17148414)
    3 larger universities in Sweden (the one I work for is one of them) are about to add theyselve to MS Live Search book program. They are in the talking at this moment. This will give the project access to 30000+ volumes of books/researchs in scientific and humanitary fields.
  • by YourMoneyOrYourDuck ( 1033800 ) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @01:42PM (#17148426)
    I wonder if "Microsoft Innovation - Volumes 1-12" are going to make it into the index
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by archen ( 447353 )
      Lack of innovation jokes aside, what does this buy Microsoft exactly? I can understand Google's craziness due to their goal of indexing the world's information - and as such Google also tends to have many projects that don't yield profitable results. But Microsoft? This is a software company first. Maybe a search engine company in a way. Yet I don't see how indexing books gains them ANYTHING, aside from just doing what Google is doing... because it's doing it. Much like a little little kid who emulate
    • "How Linux stole MicroSoft's IP" by S. Ballmer is definetly going to be available. Along with "Chair-ki, a combination of martial arts and Feng-Shui" by the same author.
    • by tbcpp ( 797625 )
      And I thought you said "invocation". NOOOOOOOOOOO.....Not the M$ Deamon! We are DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED

      Anyway, back on topic...
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @01:42PM (#17148432)
    What a wasted duplication of effort. I'd rather have both companies get together and make one good product for all of us to use at either half the cost, or twice the breadth and quality.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      If both companies got together [] then prices most likely wouldn't be less and the quality wouldn't be near as great. Keep it the way [] it is.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Nonsense. Competition is good for the industry. While Microsoft are hardly known for being innovators, they have proven an ability to evolve an established idea. Google's book search will become better because of the competition Microsoft poses.
      • by ejp1082 ( 934575 )
        With regards to the actual search products, you're correct. But for the actual scanning effort, cooperation would make a lot more sense: I fail to see how scanning the same book multiple times benefits anyone. It's inefficient and ultimately wasted effort.

        Ideally, all the companies interested in doing this should get together, pool their efforts and resources, and share the underlying dataset. Let the competition be for who can build the best product(s) around that data, not for the data itself.
    • What a wasted duplication of effort.
      Did that thorny legal question about 'scanning Library books without the copyright owners' permission' ever get settled?

      Cause otherwise, the effort are just wasted. Period.
    • by darkonc ( 47285 )
      Nice idea, but you're talking about Microsoft here.
    • Double your pleasure, double your fun, with double the DRM.

      Give away something for free that everyone wants, so you can install a piece of software on machines for other ventures.
      (I'll never buy another Microsoft product if they ever install DRM that can't be removed via System Restore the next day)

    • I'd be happy if they shared the data, even if they provided different interfaces.
  • Microsoft is releasing its Live Search Books, a rival to Google's Book Search, in test, or beta, version in the US.

    I seriously think that people reading Slashdot know what "beta" means. Especially considering the "tagging beta" phrase that appears below every article summary. You can just say "beta" next time. Thanks.

  • Copy Cat (Score:1, Redundant)

    "Anything you can do, I can do better .... "
  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday December 07, 2006 @01:49PM (#17148522) Homepage Journal
    Please Microsoft, do something new that's not copying Apple and Google.

    Let's all now go look at Google Labs and predict the next 12 Microsoft products....
    • Google is making a full-featured Operating System?
      • by darkonc ( 47285 )
        No, but Apple did.
        The difference, however, is that Apple's OS actually works.
      • Google is making a full-featured Operating System?

        Reportedly. Well, it'll be linux-based; it's a matter of taste whether linux or Windows has more features.
    • Microsoft never has had an original idea before, why start now?

      I think any original thoughts born out of Microsoft were not corporately endorsed and happened totally at random.

      Of course never underestimate the power of bureaucracy to crush insightful ideas...

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )
      Indeed. When Microsoft launched their Virtual Earth 3D Beta I started a new tag "makincopies" because it was obviously just an imitation of Google Earth. And in no big surpise to me, I now have another article to tag.
      • I started a new tag "makincopies"

        Nice - expertly done SNL reference. :)
      • ...because it was obviously just an imitation of Google Earth

        You mean the software application developed by Keyhole, that Google bought and released as their own product?

        Then let's note that Microsoft had versions of TerraServer in 1997 (and obviously the project predates that).

        Also note that Virtual Earth offers bird-eye views that Google does not.

        Never mind, I forgot that this is Slashdot and I shouldn't let mere facts get in the way of good Microsoft rants.

    • by noigmn ( 929935 )
      And Bill's...
    • Please Microsoft, do something new that's not copying Apple and Google....

      Why? So you can post on /. how MS is is shunning all the "standards" out there and how terrible it is that they always have to do their own things when there's already perfectly good solutions out there for all kinds of stuff?

  • but when is MS going to actually release something *new*? how about skipping book search and taking a risk with something that google hasn't already done?

    for example, i think their efforts on XNA game studio [] are of they type they should do more often: it leverages their core strengths (dev tools and 3d graphics), takes advantage of existing products with wide install bases (yes, - but i really mean directx) and is INTERESTING and EXCITING and something GOOGLE CAN'T MATCH NEXT WEEK.
  • If Microsoft is so dedicated to online books and thinks it's such a great idea, I wonder why they didn't contribute to an already well-established site, like The Gutenberg Project [] which got its start back in 1971.

    Is this what they call embrace and extend?
    • I wouldn't either, if I were in their shoes. Formatting is kinda important, but it's antithetical to what Gutenberg does. PDF files are a Good Thing.
  • I once worked for Wang Labs circa 1990, and I noticed that many of the things Wang did seemed quite inexplicable... until you considered IBM. Then the pattern became clear. Whatever IBM did, Wang tended to do something similar six months to a year later.

    1984, IBM acquires Rolm. Much press ink spilled about how IBM is about to become a leader in the combined computer-telecommunications industry. Shortly thereafter Wang acquires an communications company called Intecom. 1988, IBM spits out Rolm. It appears th
    • Microsoft now seems to be very much in the same mold. Apple has an MP3 player? Good, let's have an MP3 player. Google has a book search? Good, let's have a book search.

      Well, they certainly don't do it to skimp on R&D [].

    • Microsoft now seems to be very much in the same mold. Apple has an MP3 player? Good, let's have an MP3 player. Google has a book search? Good, let's have a book search.
      I was thinking it was more like this....

      Google has Google Earth & SketchUp - its an amazing 3D world, Apple has iLife with movies, music & podcasts...

      ...I know, lets make a Book Search!
  • they probably will only offer Trusted-Reading. fahrenheit 451 style
    • If you're thinking of DRM, no. The PDF files you can download are not password-protected. They do require an extra plug-in for some PDF readers because of the image format they use (I think it's JBIG2, but not sure), though there's nothing to stop you converting them to a more widely-used format.
      • lol nah i was thinking about the way they only sell software for their own os, push developers to use their proprietary api's and provide incentives for oems and businesses to use thier os in a way to limit competition, and using the same tactics on literature. the way china restricts access to damaging information, or any literature that may undermine thier interests.

        its very unlikely, mainly just a cheap-shot, anti-microsoft linux fanboyism and such. however it is possible.
        • Well it was a fair question I thought :-) My first thought when I downloaded a book was "right, how do I go about removing a password from a PDF file again?" It's just that I turned out not to need to ...
  • Does this mean I can finally read Bill Gates' book, "The Road Ahead" for free? :p
  • Microsoft is releasing its Live Search Books, a rival to Google's Book Search, in test, or beta, version in the US

    You can see Microsoft Research's Innovation [] hard at work here. Same thing goes for the XBox, Zune, IE, Word, DOS, Windows, ..
  • I'm working on the 100 greatest books list and trying to read them comprehensively not just to say I did it. I'm not a disciplined or fast reader and I probably only get through 5-10 fiction books a year, so I spend a lot of time rereading sections I can't interpret. I spent about 30 minutes sifting through War and Peace one night trying to find the passage "God, death, love, brotherhood of man." For those of us looking for these kinds of passages or favorite quotes, this is awesome.
  • At least not in Opera, all it displays is a blank window after searching.

    Good job Microsoft!
  • I've been hearing about this new service for a bit, and the *great* thing that I'm hearing is a severe lack of complaining. The news media isn't making a stink about this, because Microsoft is making a concerted effort to start with only out-of-copyright books. This is the first step, and it's a step that Google should have done correctly.

    Note also that this MS product, while I don't think it's quite as easy to navigate as Google's, is very specifically about putting books online, and giving them to
    • Note also that this MS product, while I don't think it's quite as easy to navigate as Google's, is very specifically about putting books online, and giving them to anyone that wants them. No "previews." No gimmicks. Just books. Sure, they call it Book Search, but once you find the book, there's a link to "Download The Entire Book" in pdf format.

      This blows away what Google is doing.
  • Can anyone suggest a single thing that Microsoft has done in the last few years that could be described (loosely) as innovative from the point of view of the end users of their products? By that I would exclude things like the .NET platform, which Joe Sixpack knows nothing about.

    Is it Clippy? Might it be the Strip in the new Office? It surely is not Book Search, the Zune or IE7... I'm really struggling here, yet they are one of the largest corporations on earth. Something is seriously wrong with Microsoft.
  • I wonder why no book publisher has come forward to complain about this deal?
    They did when Google came out with it. Why not now? Is it because Google is a higher profile target for them?

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"