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Microsoft Adds In-Copyright Book Search

Windows Live Search can now boast in-copyright books, thanks to an agreement between Microsoft and dozens of publishers (including Cambridge University Press, McGraw-Hill Cos Inc. and Simon & Schuster) to use their books. Book search uses a similar interface to that of Academic search, with two panes (results on the left, book preview on the right).

Users can search through a book and see scans of the pages containing that search. Book scans can also be made to fill the browser window, and a density map runs next to the scroll bar showing which areas of the book discuss the search term the most. Also, because you are limited to only reading a certain number of pages (like on any book search engine), they show you a counter of how many you have left, so you don’t get pissed when you run out of new pages.

Today’s release includes books from a wide range of publishers. We have paid particular attention to ensuring that we are only including books in our index that our publishing partners have given us permission to include, so our customers and partners can feel secure in our stance on copyright protection. Here are just a few of our launch partners: Academic Resources Corporation, Amherst Media, Bearport Publishing, Cambridge University Press, Edward Elgar Publishing, Harrison House Publishers, Harvard University Press, Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services, Institute for International Economics, John Wiley & Sons Publishing, Lerner Publishing Group, MBI Publishing Company, McGraw-Hill Companies, Microsoft Corporation, MIT Press, OECD, Osprey Publishing, Oxford University Press, Pearson Education, PREP Publishing, Rodale, Rutgers University Press, Simon & Schuster, Springer, SUNY Press, Taylor & Francis Group, The Perseus Books Group, The World Bank, University of Massachusetts Press, Wheatmark, Wilderness Press, World Health Organization, World Scientific Publishing Company, World Wisdom, Yale University Press. There are many more not named here—and many more whose books will be incorporated as we update the index going forward.

Google does a similar book search product, but theirs is opt-out, meaning they’ll scan your book unless you specifically ask them not to. This has gotten Google yelled at by publishers, many of whom have threatened to sue or already have sued Google. Meanwhile, Microsoft is asking permission first, and has a great interface to boot. Good for them. Nice to see Microsoft playing better with others, especially when the competition doesn’t even bother.

June 7th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows, Search, General | no comments

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