Thoughts on the things Google

Always of interest as Google Books is of course the source of content for RetroRead. Some random observations: I just caught up with the fact that one of the driving forces behind the Google book project, Daniel Clancy, has apparently moved on to a focus at YouTube, although will remain involved in high-impact decisions with the project. Meanwhile, the settlement seems more or less out of the news and also noticing that ‘Google Editions’ — announced as in the works as early as last January — still haven’t materialized.

And this week, estimates are published that the ebook market is expected to break $1 billion in 2011. If something close to 90% of that isn’t going though Amazon I’d be more or less amazed. It seems that with the focus on the settlement and its cloud-centric view of epubs, Amazon has more than stolen a march on Google and it is hard to see where they will go. The origins of Google’s ebook efforts pre-date the advent of e-ink readers, and this reader, at any rate, can’t imagine why anyone would want to buy a book they can’t have wherever they go and in a readable format. And the cloud isn’t everywhere.

What is Google’s best destiny in the ebook world? Certainly, everything wants to be searchable; beyond that I think they are going to have to think very out of the box if they (or anyone) is going to pry Amazon’s domination away.

Not that it isn’t possible: there are many forces at work conspiring against Amazon, but so far they are riding the crest of the wave. And Google has plenty of leverage, but they will need to take it to the e-ink readers “in anger” because that is where the game is. Android could be a factor here.

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