129,864,880. That’s the number of published books that exist in the world today. At least that’s the estimate from Google’s massive Google Books project. You can look here if you want to read about how they’ve calculated it. That is an amazing amount of material. Of course, it includes a large number of college works and things that are not exactly published for the masses. This would seem one of the more noble aspects of Google’s quest to catalog all of the world’s data. I’m not exactly sure how they are planning to make money off of this. There will be some revenue, but it doesn’t seem that the ROI is going to be very good at all. Are they planning to profile us based upon the books we read along with information from other Google services in order to refine ad targeting? I know what they are saying, but I don’t know what they are planning.
I do imagine that there would be some particularly useful benefits to this. The project should make it very easy to identify similar books that you would be interested in, and some very obscure ones at that. It would also make research a much faster process. I can’t yet perceive the power of all the world’s books at my local library, which brings up the question of “Do I want the power of all the world’s books at my local library.”. Clearly, I don’t want that for my young children.
I haven’t wrapped my head around the whole project yet, but it certainly gives me pause to consider the possibilities.