Earlier this week, Microsoft announced it too was going to begin the digitalization of as many published works as possible.
Scheduled to launch before June 2006, MSN Book Search (MSNBS) will be accessible to users as a tab above the general MSN search query window.
While MSNBS is obviously a response to the Google Print and Google Library program, Microsoft is treading softly on copyright concerns held by publishers and authors by joining the Open Content Alliance (OCA). MSNBS has committed to funding the digitalization of approximately 150,000 public domain books through the OCA and agreements with a number of libraries. It also plans to make available information from academic institutions, thousands of periodicals, news and entertainment aggregators and other collections of digitalized documents.
Over at Search Engine Watch, editor Gary Price engages in some interesting speculation noting that Yahoo, which is already a member of the OCA, recently signed an agreement to cooperate with MSN in the development of new versions of their Instant Message tools. With both involved in similar initiatives obviously aimed at Google’s dominance in yet another emerging sector, the opportunities for further collusion are wide open.
Regardless of how Google might react to MSNBS, the entry of the software and search services giant into the print-to-digital fray marks a major challenge for traditional paper bound publishers. Microsoft is also continuing development of its new OS, leading to speculation that one of the tools in the OS itself could be based on the program.
That wouldn’t be the first time anyone associated the new OS with MSNBS.
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