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Google Print Opens Widely To Publishers

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The longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members examines copyright protections in place to protect publishers, has more tips on getting started with Google Print and examines the opportunity for merchants to use Froogle to tap into Google Print traffic. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Google's nearly year-old Google Print program is set for a huge expansion of content through the launch of a new program today allowing publishers to more easily submit material for inclusion.

"We're trying to make offline information like books searchable and available online. That's a natural next step as part of Google's mission," said Susan Wojcicki, director of product management for Google's ad syndication programs.

Google is inviting publishers large or small to provide books that will be scanned and included in the Google Print service for free. Books will be accepted if they have ISBNs and are in any form of English (US, British, Canadian, Australian -- any variant is acceptable).

Google had already been inviting publishers to participate since Google Print launched last year. The old application form is even still online.

A key difference is that the new program provides an automated account-based service for publishers to manage what's included in the program plus a share of ad revenues. In addition, the program scans the full-text of books, not just small excerpts.

Finding Book Content

Unlike some other Google services, Google Print has not existed as a standalone service. Instead, data from books and some magazines has been integrated in the ordinary web index. If deemed relevant, listings from a book may have appeared right alongside web listings.

The book content is now being removed from the web index (magazine content will remain). Instead, if there's relevant Google Print book content, it will show up in what Google calls a OneBox Results listing. This is a section above the regular search results where news headlines, shopping results and local results are shown (for examples, see our Google Loses Tabs In New Look article).

Unfortunately, there still won't be an easy way to do a dedicated search of just book data, in the way people can search for just images, news, shopping and other type of content on Google as listed on its site.

That may come in the future. Google promised to provide a special command in the future to help searchers find just book content. Down the line, the Google Print home page possibly could gain an actual search box. In the meantime, searchers have to resort to workarounds like the one Tara Calishain recently cooked up, described more here: Isolating Google's Printed Material in a Google Search Form.

For the time being, Google's really more focused on promoting Google Print to publishers. The goal is that in the future, when enough content has been gathered, then it will make more sense to promote the service more heavily to searchers.

"Think of this as us beginning to experiment with this content," Wojcicki said.

Amazon & Other Print Search Options

A chief rival to Google Print is Amazon's Search Inside The Book feature. That service to date seems mainly a system designed to help Amazon sell more books, by showing buyers some of the book's content. The full-text of books is indexed, through a program also inviting publishers to participate. Amazon's a9 service also taps into Search Inside The Book and provides a more direct way to hit this material.

In contrast, Google Print isn't designed to make Google money off selling books. While it carries links to online booksellers, it earns no income from these, the company said. Instead, Google Print provides new content for Google's AdSense contextual listings. The content effectively gives Google many more billboards where it can place sponsored links.

Aside from the Amazon and Google programs, there are a number of smaller programs and other methods allowing searchers to scan through the full text of books. Gary Price provided a rundown on these and more about the Amazon program in our article from last year, Amazon Debuts New Book Search Tool.

The longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members examines copyright protections in place to protect publishers, has more tips on getting started with Google Print and examines the opportunity for merchants to use Froogle to tap into Google Print traffic. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

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