So, what's next Google service going to be? According to this BBC News story, it just might be an online bookstore for ebooks. This idea was floated past reporters and other invited guests in a post keynote backstage press conference last Friday night.
From the article:
Google has suggested it may consider setting up an online book store. Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that this would depend on permission from copyright holders.
We know that Amazon.com has plans to allow users to purchase online access and/or and download chapters or pages of books via their "Amazon Pages" and "Amazon Upgrade" programs that are set to launch sometime this year.
Actually, Amazon.com already offers some popular titles for downloading to Microsoft Reader. The Da Vinici Code is one example.
Microsoft also has their own ebookstore.
Google would also face competition from many other online ebook vendors and services. Browsing through the DigitalBookIndex and eBooklocator databases will give you an idea of what ebook content is already out there. You can find a list of other online and ebook sources here.
When I first learned about the Google Library program (not the same thing as Google Book Search for Publishers) I thought that once Google digitized a lot of this older, non-digitized content AND with then gain permission of copyright holders it would be a natural for them to sell it both electronically and/or offer a print-on-demand service. Perhaps, these comments from Schmidt are the first we're publicly hearing about the idea. Of course, now with the launch of Google Video Store, they're developing the business (Google Payment Corporation) and methods for online payment. Who knows? It seems that just about every there is talk/speculation about another new service from Google. Chris even joked yesterday that Google Doctor might be not far off.
Having manangement tossing out ideas, keeps people talking (Google speculation could be a full time job), buzz humming, and investors investing. This is as much a part of Google's brilliance as anything else.
Thanks to Science Library Pad for the news tip.