Friday, January 26, 2007

Google meshes books and maps online

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Internet search giant Google has said it has begun combining online books with its mapping software to guide readers to places described in print.

Google Books has started to "animate the static information" in written works by linking location references to its interactive Google Maps software.

Clicking on words pinpointing certain places in books will connect readers to maps of the spots, according to Google engineer David Petrou.

"Why not visualize places mentioned in books on a map?" Petrou asked rhetorically in a weblog on the company website.

"Now you can. Fact, fiction, old and new, we seek to present maps when helpful across all kinds of books."

Titles already augmented with interactive maps include Around the World in Eighty Days, War and Peace, The Travels of Marco Polo, and The 9/11 Commission Report, according to Google.

"We hope this feature helps you plan your next trip, research an area for academic purposes, or visualize the haunts of your favorite fictional characters," wrote Petrou. "Above all, have fun."

The Google Book Search project has caused controversy worldwide since it was initiated in 2004 with the aim of scanning every literary work into digital format and making them available online.

The Mountain View, California-based company has stored on its searchable database classic works in the public domain, along with copyrighted books either sent with or without the publishers' permission.

After outcries from publishing houses and authors, Google modified its online library to offer only summaries of copyrighted works along with information regarding where to buy or borrow the books.

From:yahoo news

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