Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Google's Big Announcement

The big tech news of the day is the Google has announced that they are scanning the contents of several libraries and making them available on the web. Wired has a nice piece here. Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine has some other suggestions as do his commenters.

One more: There is rather unique collection of information that unfortunately, is going the opposite direction of the efforts by Google. Vanderbilt University maintains the world’s largest collection of archived news footage. Rather than digitizing and making the entire collection available online, either independently or in conjunction with a partner like Google, Vanderbilt is making it more difficult to gain access to this wonderful resource.

As for the Google announcement rather than concentrating on the spread of information, which is a great thing indeed, it is important to look at another angle to this story. If society, at least first world society, is not at the point of being able to digitally record everything, this demonstrates that such a time is not far away at all. Publishing the entire contents of two university libraries and partial content from 3 more libraries will require vast amounts of storage space. Even a few years ago projects of this size would have been severely hampered by a long list of hurdles that would have included both bandwidth and storage capacity. As the cost per unit of both of these commodities continues to falls Google’s library project will likely look small and rather pedestrian in scope.

We are rapidly approaching a time when our capacity to store and stream/publish information exceeds the requirements of such efforts. Imagine an IP enables video camera, handheld, that can transmit its recordings directly to your own personal space on the Internet when your friends and family can see exactly what you saw as you toured Machu Picchu. Imagine it in real time, in the classroom, available at 1 AM as you research a paper due the next morning.

Projects like Google Library are tremendous for what they do to the spread of otherwise closed off information, available only to students at top universities before. It is even greater as a measure of technological development. Today’s announcement is far bigger than Google; the announcement gives present day observers, especially lay observers, the first good look at how the Internet is a far, far greater development than we can possibly fathom.

8 Comments:

Blogger Andres Berger said...

You could be interested in some of our
articles on Machu Picchu located here:

Machu Picchu Articles


Regards

-----------
Blanca Nieto

September 7, 2005 at 2:35 AM  
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