Google Takes Another Step Towards Monetizing Exclusive Content

Google has just taken another step towards monetizing its 15-million-strong trove of scanned books that it obtained exclusive access to through the proposed Google Book Settlement by acquiring eBook Technologies.  Despite the fact that eBook’s homepage has been largely stripped of any useful information about its products, TechCrunch took a spin through the Google Cache and reports that “eBook Technologies, Inc. (‘ETI’) platform consists of four parts: electronic reading devices (eBook devices) plus their associated UI firmware technology, the ‘Online Bookshelf’, an Internet-based content sales and delivery system (the eBookstore), and eBook content conversion / publication tools.”  A Google spokesperson confirmed the acquisition to TechCrunch, stating that “together, we hope to deliver richer reading experiences on tablets, electronic readers and other portable devices.”

This is just one more sign that Google, despite rhetoric about cultural heritage, plans to use the Google Book Settlement as another profit driver.  PC Magazine reminds readers of the controversy surrounding the settlement, as well the breadth and depth of opposition.  The GBS would give Google exclusive content that it can use to enhance its already dominant search engine, that it can monetize via its dominant search advertising arm by using the content to respond to search queries by displaying snippets and, of course, monetizing this exclusive content through its ebook store.

So much for “open” – more like “open . . . for business.”

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What Experts Are Saying About the Settlement…

Important Dates

December 14, 2009
Notice begins

January 28, 2010
Deadline for authors to opt out of the settlement

January 28, 2010
Deadline to file objections and/or amicus briefs

February 4, 2010
Deadline to file notice of intent to appear at Fairness Hearing

February 4, 2010
DOJ response

February 11, 2010
Plaintiffs move for final approval

February 18, 2010
Final Fairness Hearing

March 31, 2011
Deadline to claim Books and Inserts