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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Google Book Search Now in Microsoft Beta

    Everyone has discovered the benefits of Google’s Book Search. If you haven’t yet, then you are missing out on more than just another interesting technology widget. Microsoft recently released the Book Search in beta, which has the capability of challenging Google, something that rarely shakes the Google world. The new Live Search Books fixes old bugs, but most importantly, augments a search engine that is for everyone, from the procrastinating college student to the self-amusing pleasure reader.

    The search was released on Dec. 6. Although still a baby, it is already catching on amongst most professional organizations. The search engine seeks through keyword searches. It uses Microsoft’s book scanning project, which works just like their Windows Live Search. For now, the database can be searched from Microsoft’s beta home page. There is also a category for it on the main Windows Live Search page, better known as vertical search. Microsoft also added a medical content related search, which will likely quadruple its search popularity.

    When the tool tests out of the beta mode, Microsoft will incorporate all scanned publications into its general search engine. The bad news is that this may take as long as six months. But most software companies will take that long for anything this good. Now when you search for Abraham Lincoln, the searches will incorporate content types together to give you more relevant results. So, your search results will prioritize historical books that might provide better research material than an 11-year-old’s book report.

    My favorite aspect is the ‘Search inside a book’ feature. Because of the option of full text view, this feature is undeniably user friendly. Using this, you can search the full texts of scanned books. The only limitation in the beta release is that we can only search through non-copyrighted books that have been scanned from the British Library, the University of California and the University of Toronto collections.

    Before you pout, be patient. In the next month, Microsoft will be adding books scanned by robotic machines (how cool is that?) to include the collections of the New York Public Library, Cornell University and the American Museum of Veterinary Medicine. The next release will include copyrighted work with permission from their publishers.

    What hasn’t changed? Microsoft’s search engine allows full text viewing, searching and printing, as well as downloading in PDF format, just like Google’s Book Search. But, Microsoft guarantees housing only non-copyrighted works or soon copyrighted works with publisher’s permission. So, when you chose to use this book search, you can be guaranteed to be safe with work you use. So, no dirty suits will crop up as they have with Google’s search.

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