The library partnerships offer one of the first concrete clues about Googles strategic direction, Weiner said. The project will add new sets of non-Web information into its index. "Google believes that its future is as a search purveyor where search is what drives the economics," Weiner said. Google Print pits the company more directly against Amazon.com Inc., which also has made books searchable by keywords."Companies will begin to create proprietary deals for searching up databases and new areas," he said. "Their ability to strike these deals gives them areas of differentiation." What about competitors? Click here to read about Yahoos program for nonprofits and libraries. Google plans to co-mingle the library collection with its overall Web results. Google Print results today appear atop the list of results when a searcher enters keywords associated with a book, such as part of a title or an authors name, Wojcicki said. Googles approach of merging books within the same index as Web pages and content raised concerns among some librarians. "The bigger the Google database gets, the harder it will be to find all these snippets of things, especially since they do not provide a specific interface for these books," said Steven Cohen, a librarian in New York and a contributing editor to Weblog ResourceShelf. Gary Price, a library and Internet research consultant, said he shared concerns about whether books from the library collections would be easy to find in Google since few searchers use advanced queries or enter more than two or three keywords in a query. Price, who is also the editor of ResourceShelf, said he hopes Google eventually provides libraries with a way to directly access the book collections in Googles indexes for their Web sites and online efforts. Yet Googles move into scanning and indexing library collections could be a boon for libraries, which have struggled to market their research offerings as the Internet has grown in popularity, Cohen said. By making books more accessible online and including links to local libraries, Google could help increase the profile of libraries, he said. Whatever the effect on libraries, the project will help Google maintain its top mindshare in search as it faces an increasing number of competitors, Price said. "This has been another incredible marketing move for [Google]," Price said. "Not that the mission is not noble, and I applaud them for that, but its also another brilliant marketing move." Editors Note: This story was updated to correct information about which portion of Oxford Universitys collection Google will scan and index. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Weiner said he doesnt expect Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp.s MSN division or Ask Jeeves Inc. to directly compete with Googles drive to digitize library collection, but he said all search players will increasingly look to add new forms of content to their indexes.