Google recently announced a plan to begin working with the New York Public Library and some major university libraries from Harvard, Oxford, Michigan and Stanford to make the most important printed texts of the world available for online searching.
This is the second major literary initiative by Google this year, following a program called Google Print that allows the web-based search engine to search inside books.
Opinions are divided about Google, an American corporation based in the Bay Area. The company seems socially progressive — their motto is “Don’t Be Evil”. But it is a public corporation, which means it is owned by stockholders solely interested in increasing profit.
I’ve worked inside dot-coms (and I still do), and if you’ve hung around as many cubicles as I have, you know how hard it is for a new media corporation to make good decisions, or any decisions at all. I know many people are concerned about the power Google is amassing as it continues to index the world’s information. They don’t seem insidious. But what if they’re actually Martians?
Personally, I worry much more about Texas-based corporations than San Francisco-based ones and I applaud Google’s experimental forays into mankind’s vaults of texts. But I know there are a lot of valid opinions about this. What do you think?