Ambient Light Ruins Stargazing

Google revs up book search; IBM hunts for storage property.

While Spencer often likes to curl up with a good book during his weekend downtime, he decided to join the throngs heading to their local cineplexes during the Memorial Day break to see the latest Indiana Jones action epic.

He had just settled into his seat with a bag of kettle corn and a Cherry Coke when he noticed all the smart phones and even a few laptops glowing in the half-lit theater. Now the Wired One is all for using mobile technology whenever possible. But he wasn't thrilled by the idea of watching Cate Blanchett and Harrison Ford through the light pollution of a dozen phones and laptops.

Fortunately, good sense and manners prevailed and the last laptop went dark before the end of the fifth upcoming feature preview.

But the situation reminded him why he usually prefers to stay home with his books and DVD player and wait for the video release than deal with the sometimes-annoying theater crowd.

Speaking of books, sources tell the Learned Lynx that Google intends to ramp up its own Book Search efforts in the wake of Microsoft's closure of its Live Search Books and Live Search Academic software projects. Google planned to hold a Book Search event with the New York Public Library and other partners last fall, but canceled it at the last minute due to scheduling issues.

No make-up date has been assigned, but now is as good a time as ever with Microsoft admitting its own book search effort was a waste of time and money as it seeks to better monetize search through e-commerce.

Currently, Google boasts more than 10,000 publishing partners for its Book Search program, including McGraw-Hill Companies, Random House, Hyperion Books, HarperCollins Publishers and Penguin Group. Also, some 28 libraries are working with Google.

One way Google could improve Book Search is by making it more social. In February 2008, the company introduced My Library, which let users customize an online library. Once created, users can provide others with a link or an iGoogle gadget. The Furball is wondering whether a Digg or type feature is also in the works.

For the past couple of weeks the Kattphone has been buzzing with rumors that IBM, which desperately needs to add second-generation storage and data-recovery software to replace its own aging offerings, is looking at several top-tier companies with an eye toward acquiring one of them. Instant Web 2.0 cred is the goal!

Big Blue, which bought Arsenal Digital Solutions in December to establish itself in the online backup world, had been rumored for years to be interested in buying NetApp. But sources are telling the Grimalkin that this isn't going to happen. NetApp is cruising along quite comfortably, thank you, and its shareholders are happy with the way CEO Dan Warmenhoven & Co. are doing things.

So the next best thing for IBM would be to find an up-and-coming young storage company that has elbowed aside some larger competitors and found some loyal customers. Could those candidates be the Minnesota Two-Compellent and Xiotech?

Spencer's sources say yes. Both are highly respected, but the edge here goes to Compellent. The Prophetic Puss senses a deal will come sooner rather than later.

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...