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A nice, non-legalese summary of the Google Books story from Read Write Web:
"Google's long-running fight to digitize the world's written works has closed two more chapters, but the story hasn't quite reached the end. Despite stakes that include millions of dollars of ad revenue for Google versus the potential loss of revenue and royalties for publishers and authors, however, the epic saga's climax is turning out to be surprisingly muted.
There are three parts to this story so far, with Google Books the protagonist (or antagonist, depending on your point of view) at the center of all of them. Following two separate court decisions this week and last, two of those parts are now concluded, leaving only one more thread of the tale to wrap up."
In an earlier, more innocent era, the shocking rumors about the past of a former first lady of Germany would have stayed put in the drawing rooms of the political elite. Nowadays, they appear unbidden on Google.
Say a schoolchild writing a homework assignment about Bettina Wulff entered her name into the search engine. “Bettina Wulff prostitute,” Google’s autocomplete function would helpfully but perhaps slanderously suggest. “Bettina Wulff escort” would pop up for good measure.
“I was stunned,” Ms. Wulff, who vehemently denied the accusations, told the weekly newsmagazine Stern, one of several publications to feature her on the cover in recent weeks. “I felt powerless and cried a lot.”
Note: Story posted because I am sure there are many librarians that have experienced the oddities of Google auto-complete.
Since Google Scholar launched nearly eight years ago, we’ve been helping people find the research they’re looking for. But often the spark for discovery comes from making a new connection or looking in a direction that you hadn’t yet considered and that -- before your aha! moment -- you wouldn’t have known to look for. Today we hope to start fostering these new connections with Scholar Updates.
We analyze your articles (as identified in your Scholar profile), scan the entire web looking for new articles relevant to your research, and then show you the most relevant articles when you visit Scholar. We determine relevance using a statistical model that incorporates what your work is about, the citation graph between articles, the fact that interests can change over time, and the authors you work with and cite. You don’t need to configure updates or enter any queries. We’ll notify you about new updates by displaying a preview on the homepage and highlighting a bell icon on search results pages:
After years of battling, the fight between Google and the Authors Guild is finally coming to a head, and the Guild has just presented a key piece of evidence, showing what Google’s intentions may have been all along, and possibly blowing up Google's entire case.
How Google Organizes the World: Q&A With the Manager of Knowledge Graph
In May, Google launched a major overhaul of its search results. The Knowledge Graph on the right-hand side of the page displays facts and images about the subject of your query alongside the usual Web results. Google is moving away from basic keyword matching and toward recognizing real-world things and their relationships. We sat down with Emily Moxley, Google's lead product manager for the Knowledge Graph, to learn how Google is tackling this challenge.
Everyone knows that the flow of information is complex and tangled in society today -- so thank goodness for copyright law! Truly, no part of our national policy is as coherent, in the interest of the public or as updated for the Internet age as that gleaming tome in the US Code.
But one MIT economist, who recently presented his work recently at Wikimania, has found a way to test how the copyright law affects one online community -- Wikipedia -- and how digitized, public domain works dramatically affect the quality of knowledge.
Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques
There are plenty of Google search cheat sheets floating around. But it’s not often you get to hear advice directly from someone at Google who offers you his favorite search tools, methods and perspectives to help you find the impossible.
Here are some of my favorite tips shared by Russell at the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors conference. Some of these techniques are powerful but obscure; others are well-known but not fully understood by everyone.
A 451 Internet error code? Digital Trends has the details:
"Government-imposed online censorship has become increasingly prevalent over the past few years...When censorship does happen, we need a sign that clearly tells us that that’s the reason for a site’s inaccessibility.
Enter Tim Bray, a software developer at Google who has proposed a solution: a “451? error code that displays anytime you visit a site blocked by the government. The number 451 is in honor of late author Ray Bradbury, whose science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451, first published in 1950, warned of a dystopian world defined by government-imposed censorship (in the form of burning any house that contains books)."