Print magazine search – the next Google frontier? Rafat Ali’s must-read website, PaidContent.org, no, wait, it’s “Content Times”, reports an interesting follow-up to the recent news that Google is in talks with book publishers to offer a version of full-text search similar to Amazon’s new “Search Inside the Book” feature.
Rafat reports that his sources suggest that Google is exploring the possibility of a concept that would, “take offline publications, digitize, archive them, and allow users to search on them.” This sounds to me like what Lexis and Factiva do. Fortunately, it sounds the same to Rafat, but he knows who to ask about such an observation.
Another top media executive I spoke to told me that Google has indeed made the rounds of magazine companies…the general idea, according to the executive, is that Google and Yahoo don’t like it that more and more content is going behind paid walls that they don’t pick-up. At the very least they want deals with the publishers so that they can index paid content.
On competing against B2B players, the executive told me: “Factiva and Lexis would respond to the question of their sustainability by saying that this is not a problem that you can easily crack with Google technology and distribution. Quark conversion, rights issues, branding, contracts with hundreds of publishers, and inconsistent business models are the tough issues that take years of effort.”
I don’t have time now to comment on the longterm implications of such search, but there are many. For example, this could affect some observations Doc Searls has made regarding the existence, or lack thereof, of unindexted content (although he wouldn’t use that term) behind a “cost wall.”