Tim Wu, sul New Yorker:
Today, the project sits in a kind of limbo. On one hand, Google has scanned an impressive thirty million volumes, putting it in a league with the world’s larger libraries (the library of Congress has around thirty-seven million books). That is a serious accomplishment. But while the corpus is impressive, most of it remains inaccessible. Searches of out-of-print books often yield mere snippets of the text—there is no way to gain access to the whole book. The thrilling thing about Google Books, it seemed to me, was not just the opportunity to read a line here or there; it was the possibility of exploring the full text of millions of out-of-print books and periodicals that had no real commercial value but nonetheless represented a treasure trove for the public. In other words, it would be the world’s first online library worthy of that name. And yet the attainment of that goal has been stymied, despite Google having at its disposal an unusual combination of technological means, the agreement of many authors and publishers, and enough money to compensate just about everyone who needs it.
Purtroppo è in fase di stallo da anni; del resto il compito di Google — per stessa ammissione di Google — non è più quello di organizzare la conoscenza del mondo.
Se avete voglia di capire cosa sia andato storto e a quali problemi (copyright) l’azienda sia andata incontro, o perché abbia deciso di intraprendere un progetto apparentemente impossibile (scannerizzare tutte le libreria del mondo), consiglio Google and the World Brain. È un breve documentario che racconta la nascita di Google Books.