Google Offerings

One to watch, from Stephen Abram: Google has finally launched it’s MS Office competitive threat today:

You can read more at Information Week.

Google this week will launch Google Apps for Your Domain, a software bundle aimed at small and midsize companies. The free, ad-supported package combines Google’s E-mail, calendar, and instant messaging with Web site creation software. It will be hosted in Google’s data center, branded with customers’ domain names, and packaged with management tools for IT pros.That’s the first step. Later this year, Google plans to add its Writely word processor and Google Spreadsheets to the suite, build online collaboration features that work across its applications, and market the whole package to large companies for a fee. Google will include IT-friendly features such as APIs, directory-server integration, guaranteed performance levels, and telephone tech support.”

GRRRR – would this explain why my Google desktop has suddenly been giving me merry hell on different machines? Reconfigurations and ‘big work’ at Google datacentre? I gave up and uninstalled it from two of my boxes!

Google’s work in digitising the worlds books in the Google Book Search project is also one to think about in terms of Library 2.0. Finally some inside information is provided by ACRLblog:

Today the Chronicle of Higher Education offers an article (by Scott Carlson) that will give academic librarians a bit more insight into that relationship by providing a link to the actual contract between Google and the University of California Library System. The contract was obtained in response to an open-records request from The Chronicle.According to Carlson’s report:

“the university will provide at least 2.5 million volumes to Google for scanning, starting with 600 books a day and ratcheting up over time to 3,000 volumes a day. Materials pulled for scanning will be back on the shelves of their libraries within 15 days.”

By anyone’s standards that is a heck of a lot of books being digitized each day.

This whole concept of a digitized library is an important one to think about. I am all in favour of an online world and digital access everything. But I am also all in favour of using “real” books to develop and promote reading. I see a great place for good books in good digital libraries. I don’t mind if those books are also in digital form, or on ipods, or in braille – it is having alternative choices that are tactile, couch friendly and sometimes NOT digital that is so important.

The magic of a shared story, kids in happy piles on the library floor relaxed and in a haven away from the stresses of life – that’s a nice, wonderful, important, vital library experience. The magic of senior students reading, discussing, testing, taunting, challenging authors as they discuss plot, purpose, values etc irreplaceable. Or do we envisage sitting on a digital couch in SecondLife, reading a digital book, which we got from a digital source? No, we need to keep some hold on reality while we work with technology.

Literacy and good reading are at the heart of civilisation and culture, and while we continue to digitise we should never dismiss or destroy our books and our libraries.

That’s what repressive and distructive regimes have done. Learn from history: Let’s not digitise and then burn our books!

One thought on “Google Offerings

  1. Synchronicity, Judy! I posted on the same issue just a couple of hours ago after spotting a BBC article on it. It was particularly pertinent to me because, as I see it, it is the start of that process of moving towards the ‘Web as Platform’ that I wrote about a few days ago (and I completed the podcast I mentioned – it’s on my blog – covering the same issue in relation to the SSDN/Glow project here in Scotland).

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