MSFT Live Search Books Adds Copyrighted Material

    June 1, 2007

I’ve come to think of book search as Google’s specialty – there have been weeks in which the search engine giant made as many as two or three separate announcements about its various literature-related projects.  Yet Microsoft’s also in this game, and the Redmond-based company has just expanded its Live Search Books collection.

The expansion involves a lot of copyrighted material – books from Simon & Schuster, McGraw-Hill, and the Oxford University Press, among others, according to an entry on the Live Search blog (the blog actually lists 35 entities as “just a few of our launch partners”).  Yet Microsoft, unlike Google, does not seem doomed to wind up in court for its actions, as Bill Gates’s corporation received the publishers’ official go-ahead.

“The changes to its Live Search Books comes months after Microsoft attacked Google for what it called the Web search leader’s ‘cavalier’ approach to copyright protection in services like Google Book Search,” notes a Reuters article.

Furthermore, “[t]he world’s top software maker said Google’s ambitious plan to scan millions of published works and make them available via its search system without first gaining copyright holders’ permission could open the door to massive infringement.”

Microsoft has also (apparently) tried to one-up Google in terms of user-friendliness; the blog entry speaks of “a page preview counter that tells you how many pages you have left to view within the preview page limit set by the publisher,” among a number of other nifty features.  As for image quality, the Redmon-based company adds, “We are taking particular pains to obtain the highest possible quality images.”

Google’s added content from such far-flung places as Belgium, Switzerland, and India, but Microsoft’s latest book search update looks to be an impressive accomplishment, as well.