It's all in a name, especially when that name confuses people. In a post on the Official Google Blog, Jen Grant, a Product Marketing Manager at Google says that Google Print has a new name. The service is now called Google Book Search. Makes sense to me. URLs for http://print.google.com now redirect to the new books.google URL.
Why the change? Grant writes:
Well, one factor was all the comments we got about how excited people were that Google Print would help them print out their documents, or web pages they visit -- which of course it won't.
Sure, the name Google Print might not have been the best choice in the first place but I also think Grant's comments once again point out that with all of the services, tools, etc. that those of us who watch the search industry on an daily (if not more) basis understand are often unknown or in this case, misunderstood by the masses. Even with the large amounst of attention, especially in the case of Google Print, has received it's possible. If it can happen to Google, it can happen to any company.
Calling the service Google Print gave Google the option to easily include non-book material in the database. For example, articles from magazines. Now, they'll have to brand (something Google does very well) another product if/when they decide to offer content from magazines and other print sources.
Grant continues that the name change also reflects the evolution of the service.
Now that we're starting to achieve that, we think a more descriptive name will help clarify what our users can do with it: namely, search the full text of books to find ones that interest them and learn where to buy or borrow them.
That's true, you are able to "search" the full text but unless the book is in the public domain, you'll only be able to read a selected amount (as determined by the publisher) online. In the case of in-copyright books scanned as part of the Google Print/Book program for Libraries, you'll only see snippets that contain your search terms. In both cases, you'll not be able to print the material. Danny does a great job of summarizing what SEW Blog has been saying since the beginning about the differences between Google Print/Book for Publishers and Google Print/Book for Libraries in his post: Once Again -- The Difference Between Google Print & Google Library. Google has also tossed out the idea of online book rentals.
Google Book Search is not the only online books search service available today or coming in the future. Here are links to a few others:
+ Search and Read Full Text Books Online via ebrary
In this case you can read the full text of 20,000 books online, pay to print and copy. Links to other services including NetLibrary, Books 24x7 and Safari included in the post.
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