Sunday, December 21, 2003

Google launches book search service

London, December 18 2003

by Krishna Roy

Google has begun trialing a search tool that enables individuals to search text within 60,000 book titles, following Amazon's launch of a "search inside the book" feature in October.

Dubbed Google Print, Google's service is designed to call up brief excerpts from books, critic reviews, bibliographic and author notes. Result pages include links to publishers including Random House, Knopf Publishing Group, Macfarlane and Walter & Ross, where books can be purchased. The results also include related text ads from Google.

The trial is part of Google's ongoing mission to boost its search features under increasing competition. It has launched a UPS package information tracking tool, personal phone number locator and pop-up add blocking facility in recent months, as well as integrating its Froogle shopping search service into its main search tools.

The strategy appears to be working according to recent research by web analytics firm, which this month reported that Google's global usage has risen from 55.2% to 56.1% over the past six months, putting it way ahead of its next nearest rival Yahoo, at 21.5%.

MSN Search came in at third place with 9.4% global usage, while AOL Search took fourth place with 3.7%. Terra Lycos, Altavista and Askjeeves lagged behind with 2.3%, 1.9% and 1.6% of the global search usage market respectively.

Google has reportedly said that it does not make money from directing users to buy a book as a result of using its search and claims not be charging advertisers if individuals click on their ads. However, that could change as the company is believed to be in talks with several publishers to build out the service.

Amazon, which licenses Google's search technology and keyword-related ads, said last month that books included in its 'Search Inside the Book' outpaced growth for titles not in the program by nine percentage points during the first five days of launch.

Amazon's text search service works with around 120,000 titles from 190 publishers, which translates into some 33 million pages of searchable text.


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