Nothing like adding a little levity to the black eye Google is getting over its Google Book Search project.
I just successfully finished answering five literature-related questions for the Google Books game, the first round in the 10 Days in Google Books contest.
Here's how it works: For the next 10 days, Google will ask us five questions each day on a different theme related to books. We have to search Google Books to find the answers.
Answer each day's questions correctly and you can enter a contest to win a Sony Reader. After you answer the questions, write an entry of 50 words or less on the topic of books.
Each day, the top three submissions will win Sony Readers. The first 20,000 people to play the game will also get Google Books laptop stickers. You can, of course, increase your chances to win the Reader by coming back the next day to try again.
It seems like it could be tricky, but Google offers hints, and here's my hint to tell you how to succeed: Basically, just take the subject of the question, and enter it in the search box below.
Here is a snapshot of Question 3 in today's game, which has a music theme:
I basically just copied and pasted the line Google provides from the book, entered it into the Google Books search box, hit Enter and got "High Fidelity."
Isn't this a silly waste of time? Hell, yes! But it was fun and took me 3 minutes. Then, Google asked me what reading would be like in 100 years, which I believe will feature lots of augmented reality readers instead of PCs and handheld readers.
The waste of time is worth it in my book to win a new $300 toy, though I'd prefer an Amazon Kindle (despite the Orwell brouhaha) to a Sony Reader, but they say beggars shouldn't be choosers.
As a promotion, I agree with other bloggers that this is pretty smart, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to get more users coming to Google Books on a regular basis.
People who want to come to Google Books will do so because they find the service valuable, but I'm pretty sure that's only a small segment of Web searchers.
Times have changed. While everyone reads, most people aren't "readers." I define readers as those people who devote hours to consuming several books each week.
Sadly, that's a small percentage of the world, even during these challenging economic times fraught with higher unemployment rates.
I think Google sees more people doing Google searches looking for jobs than it does people searching Google Books.
What do you think?