Google Puts Library Project on Hold

Search giant Google said late Thursday that it would stop an ambitious project to scan and index the entire catalog of five libraries until November. The project originally launched in December and quickly came under fire from several groups, including one that accused Google Print of promoting a "unipolar world view."

Product Manager Adam Smith acknowledged the program's detractors in a post to the company Web log on Thursday. "As with many ambitious ideas, Google Print has sparked a healthy amount of discussion. And we've been listening."

Google said that it would stop cataloging any in-copyright books until November in order to give publishers time to decide if they would like to participate in the project, as well as mark what books they would not like included in the index.

Available immediately would be a way for publishers to submit lists of books that could be included in the Google Print index.

Smith also defended the program, saying that it offered opportunities to publishers to monetize their works above and beyond having them sit on a bookstore shelf.

Having the books on Google Print "will put them into search results, direct potential buyers to your website, provide ongoing reports about user interest in your books, and your books will also earn revenue from contextual advertising," he wrote.

However, Smith acknowledged not everyone saw it Google's way, so in interests of respecting the rights of copyright holders the company thought this was the best way to handle concerns.

"We're going to continue talking about Google Print with our partners and the publishing industry. These discussions have been crucial in helping to build a program that benefits the industry and, most important, the millions of users who'll be able to discover new books," Smith said.

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