Google is making its controversial Book Search engine available to publishers interested in putting it on their websites.
This is the first time Google's Book Search service has been available outside of its main site in the Google.com domain.
This co-branded search tool benefits Google because the search engine will now be available more broadly. Meanwhile, publishers benefit by offering an additional search service to their website visitors.
Publishers can tailor the index of their search engine so that only books published by them show up in the query results, Google said. As in the main Book Search site, these result pages give users the option to link to online shops that sell the listed books.
Interestingly, one of the publishers that put Book Search on its website is The McGraw-Hill Companies. Along with other major publishers, McGraw-Hill is suing Google for copyright infringement over Google's ongoing project to scan millions of copyright books without permission.
Although McGraw-Hill's position may seem at first contradictory, it stems from the fact that Google's Book Search service has two main pieces.
One focuses on securing formal partnerships with publishers, obtaining their permission to scan books and giving them control over how much of those books can be displayed by Google for free.
McGraw-Hill is one of about 10,000 publishers that participate in this partner programme with Google that have collectively made available about 1 million titles for scanning so far, said Tom Turvey, director of Google Book Search partnerships. About 50 publishers have embedded Book Search in their sites already, and many more are in line to do so, Turvey said. McGraw-Hill didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.
Simultaneously, McGraw-Hill objects to the other portion of the Book Search operation, in which Google partners with major academic libraries to scan large portions of their collections. Those library scanning operations often involve copyright books, which Google is digitally copying without obtaining permission from publishers and authors.