Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Google Print: Revolution or Peep Show?

I blogged recently on what I called the Google Print Revolution. Others are less impressed, among them Ed Cook on Ralph the Sacred River:

Google Peep Show
The problem is, I haven't yet come across a book whose entire content is online. The maximum amount I have been able to access for any one book is about 15 pages . . . .

. . . . At this point, Google Print (and I know it's in the beta stage) is the print equivalent of a peep show: "Try these free samples! Get hooked and buy the rest!" They're going to have to lift some limitations on presenting full content, or else the tool will be more frustrating than helpful . . . .
We are probably looking at different books, but most of what I have looked at recently have been on-line more-or-less in toto. Sometimes the odd page is restricted, e.g. in some of the Paulist Press offerings, but others have the lot on there. One needs to do some tweaking to view it all, as one does with Amazon's full text offerings, but it is do-able with some patience. Some recent books I've been looking at on Google Print:

John Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel

Martinus C. de Boer, Johannine Perspectives on the Death of Jesus

Graham N. Stanton, Stephen C. Barton, Bruce Longenecker, The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins

Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

And that's only a very small handful. There are loads out there, especially from Oxford University Press, Paulist, Routledge, Cambridge University Press. One of the things that I find really useful is being able to search within the books in question. There was something today I wanted to check up in the Ashton book above and I was able to go straight to it -- it would have taken me far longer if I'd have browsed through my own copy.

So I remain a fan. I've looked around to see if there's a plugin yet for Firefox for Google Print but no one seems to have written one yet. I might have a go myself if nothing else is forthcoming soon. Anyone else heard of one?

8 comments:

Phil Harland said...

Those links aren't working for me, for some reason. I receive a google print page not found message for each of them.

Phil H.

Holger said...

I am getting very erratic behaviour from print google today (11/05/05). Was working fine for the past week or so. I frequently get a 'no results' message on a query, and next time round I get the hits I was expecting... Perhaps they are overloaded?

Phil Harland said...

They links are working now. Phil H.

Holger said...

Alas... they ain't working me at present... I suppose they ARE still calling it a BETA version.

Michael said...

I needed no special plugin to use Google Print on Firefox. Perhaps you need the latest version?

Anonymous said...

i think he meant a "search engine" plugin that you can use in the search bar of FF. mozilla only has one for "google scholar" listed, but not one for print yet.

Holger said...

I sent Mark a simple hackjob I use for google print which plugs into the google search-box... I'll try and post it somehwere, tomorrow or this weekend and will note that here, as and when.

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, yes. Holger's search plug-in for Google Print works fine. Would you mind if I copied and pasted the code here, Holger?