IN SECRET locations and using secret methods, human beings are scanning lots and lots of books for Google, the world's largest web-search company. That humans are involved is beyond doubt (fingers are visible in the corners of many pages on books.google.com) although this is uncharacteristic of Google, which has a fetish for purist technology.
Google's is not the only project of its kind. The Internet Archive, for instance, is a non-profit organisation founded in 1996 by Brewster Kahle, a San Francisco idealist who wants to re-create a modern Library of Alexandria containing all public-domain texts and videos. Amazon has been scanning books, as have Microsoft and Yahoo!, Google's biggest rivals in web-search, and individual libraries around the world. Eager not to be left out, publishers are also doing the same. But Google's effort, in scale and ambition, is off the charts. ( more from the economist)
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