Microsoft on Wednesday launched its Live Search Books service, under which books will be digitally scanned and indexed for search, and the offering will compete with a similar—and controversial—service from Google, the IDG News Service reports via PCWorld.com.
A beta version of the service was made available yesterday, and Live Search Books enables users to search the full text of scanned books, according to the IDG News Service.
Google’s similar book-scan initiative and search service has come under fire from critics, publishers and authors who claim the search giant scanned and made publicly available a number of books without receiving the appropriate approval. In 2005, Google was hit with copyright-infringement suits related to the book-scan project by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild, the IDG News Service reports.
Both Microsoft and Yahoo also participate in another book-scan project dubbed the Open Content Alliance, which secures permission from the appropriate parties for whatever content it scans. To help defend itself against the copyright suits filed against it, Google recently asked a handful of firms, including Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon.com, for information on their participation in the book-scan program; however, both Amazon and Yahoo refused to turn over any related data.
Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft said it will not scan any books for the Live Search Books service without the proper permission, according to the IDG News Service. It is already teaming with such groups as the University of California, University of Toronto, the library at Cornell University, the New York Public Library, the American Museum of Veterinary Medicine and the British Library, a Live Search representative told the IDG News Service.
The firm is also in talks with a selection of book publishers regarding the digital scanning of their material, according to the IDG News Service.
Live Search Books, which will at first be available only to U.S. Web surfers in English, will eventually be combined with Microsoft’s Live search service so content from books will show up alongside normal Web search results, the IDG News Service reports.
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