Is it just us, or is Microsoft vs. Google starting to resemble Yankees vs. Red Sox these days?
The two are increasingly competitive-- at least when it comes to Web search, mapping, instant messaging and other areas. And money is no object.
No coincidence then that latest face off between the two rivals comes in the suddenly lively area of book search.
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it will join a library book digitization project sponsored by Yahoo and Internet Archive.
Microsoft is likely hoping for a less litigious experience than Google, however. Google faces two lawsuits alleging that the search giant is violating copyright law by scanning and digitizing all or parts of the collections at the libraries at universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Michigan, plus The New York Public Library.
The Yahoo-Internet Archive project will digitize only texts in the public domain, except where the copyright holder has expressly given permission. The project also will make the index of digitized works searchable by any Web search engine, unlike Google, which will be the only search engine for the books it digitizes.
Cash always helps pave the way. Microsoft has committed to paying for the digitization of 150,000 books in the first year, which will cost about $5 million.
Blog community response:
"If you're keeping track that means all three major search engines (Yahoo!, Google and MSN) have announced book search engines. So far only Google is facing lawsuits from publishers because it plans to digitize copyrighted works unless the copyright holders explicitly opt-out. Expecting that publishers and authors will have to go to each search engine vendor that plans to offer a book search service to explicitly tell them not to redistribute their works seems to be putting an unnecessary burden on copyright holders and runs counter to the spirit of copyrights. The lawsuits around Google Print may turn out to be an interesting turning point in how copyright is viewed in the digital era."
"Oh dear Microsoft, can you not make your defensive practices so obvious. I mean, really. If Google jumped off of a bridge, would you jump off of a bridge?"
" So we??re shaping up for a Microsoft & Yahoo vs. Google royal rumble."
--The Community At Large