Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Microsoft Ends Book Scanning Project

Last week Microsoft announced that it was "winding down" its Live Book Search and Academic Search, the MS answer to Google Books and Scholar. Microsoft says that to date those projects have scanned 750,000 books and indexed 80 million articles.

Here is an interesting quote from the official Live Search blog:

Given the evolution of the Web and our strategy, we believe the next generation of search is about the development of an underlying, sustainable business model for the search engine, consumer, and content partner. For example, this past Wednesday we announced our strategy to focus on verticals with high commercial intent, such as travel, and offer users cash back on their purchases from our advertisers. [. . .] Based on our experience, we foresee that the best way for a search engine to make book content available will be by crawling content repositories created by book publishers and libraries.
It sounds to me like they didn't think they were going to make enough money to justify the expense and they figure that if they wait others will pay to scan the material. Of course Live Search as always struggled to compete with Google and Google's lead in providing access to print material surely is another factor. One wonders how the failed(?) negotiations with Yahoo! may have factored into this decision and if it is part of a larger shift in Microsoft's web strategy.

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