It's a contribution to the digital renaissance.
Even though an Italian judge has found Google execs guilty in the case of an offensive video being uploaded to Google Video, that isn't stopping the company from partnering with the country on a book digitization project.
Google is partnering with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage to digitize up to 1 million out-of-copyright books.
Gino Mattiuzzo, Strategic Partner Development Manager, Italy wrote on the official Google blog:
Around Europe and the rest of the world, we are effectively witnessing a digital renaissance, with an increasing number of organizations running ambitious and promising book digitization projects. We're not the only ones who have seen the need to bring the world's books into digital form. Digitization of books is a tremendous undertaking, requiring the joint effort of a great number of public and private stakeholders. For this reason, we're supportive of many other efforts at digitization, such as the European Commission's Europeana. We want to see these books have the broadest reach possible -- the books we scan are available for inclusion in Europeana, of which the Florence Library is a founding member, and other digital libraries. The more of the world's historical, cultural treasures we can bring online, the more we can unlock our shared heritage.
The effort is similar to how the Google Books project got its start in the U.S. Though, considering how the Google Books settlement is still held up in a long legal process in the U.S. - and Google's current legal problems with Italy - you have to wonder if this is the best timing.