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Google Announces Launch of Print Program to Frankfurt Fairgoers

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October 15-31, 2004 Edition

Google Announces

Launch of Print Program

to Frankfurt Fairgoers

FRANKFURT, GERMANY/10/07/2004—Google this week officially turned on its Google Print program and made the announcement at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were on hand for the fanfare. The Google Print program, which has been in the testing mode for nearly a year, is designed to provide publishers with free exposure for their titles.

Google’s search engine will now enable a user to search for any term that may appear inside a published book, such as architectural design. The book title, author and page number where the search term appears will show along with a brief excerpt from the book. A user can search for multiple terms within a book but can only browse two pages back or forward from the resulting page, and will not be allowed to copy any contents. This and other restrictions help satisfy publishers’ worries that such an engine might cut into the sale of books and/or infringe on copyrights.

A user can purchase the book from the excerpt page, which is linked to Amazon.com, BN.com and Booksense. Google will also pay publishers for click-throughs on book advertisements.

Among participating publishers are Penguin, Scholastic, Hyperion, Houghton Mifflin and a number of university presses who have given Google permission to use their names. But the company says it is working with most major publishers, and is looking for English-language publishers of all sizes and kinds, including self-published titles and out-of-print books. Magazines, however, are not included at this time.

Google would not disclose its search criteria or what algorithms it would use to display the pages, or whether weighting of certain factors would be involved.

Random House has not yet signed with Google, though it is reportedly involved in on-going talks about its concerns over the program, especially in the area of nonfiction titles. Two former Random House employees, Adam Smith, and Amanda Kimmel, who helped run Random House’s e-book program several years ago, have been hired by Google perhaps to help assuage major publishers’ fears.

The Google Print program can be viewed online at http://print.google.com/publisher.