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January 22, 2007
Breathless Google Buzz...Again
An article in the Times of London gushes about how Google is plotting to "do for books what Apple's iPod has done for music."
Ugh, yet again Google waves its magic wand and will transform an industry? Like it did with its video? Ohh, that's right. It's video service really didn't take off, which is why it bought YouTube.
Being able to digitize something doesn't simply make suddenly desirable. It will take a good combination of pricing and hardware, which Apple did prove. And there is plenty of reason to be skeptical about Google's ability to do both since they specialize in an ad model and haven't really turned out any hardware to speak of.
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It will be interesting to see what Google comes up with, and if Amazon will be weighing in. Personally, I think true widespread adoption of e-books will only come to fruition when someone engineers an e-book reader and service that is really revolutionary.
The hardware needs to be flat, wide, and tall, and have incredible battery life. Glare can't be an issue, in fact the best scenario would be for it to look very similar to a printed page that everyone is used to. Memory needs to be gigantic if all the collective bookworms are too replace our paradigm of adding to our bookshelves with electronic versions. If we want to re-read a title a year later, it should be right there, with a PC backup available too.
The only company capable of designing something like this that I can think of is Apple, something designed with a similar genius of simplicity as the Ipod. The service needs to be convenient and inexpensive. Titles need to sell at about half their print retail or less, especially in the beginning to entice hardware adoption.
Posted by: Josh Nankivel at January 24, 2007 12:01 AM
I think we need a flat 15" (optimal) electronic board, with (simple) navigational capability, with the e-book "reader" built-in, or have blue-tooth link up to the "main board" - be it the device that holds the e-book data, which is simpler, or to the PC itself, which could be more complex.
That's all, designers, please go ahead and give us what we want.
Posted by: Chi at January 25, 2007 10:41 PM
I think Google is a great company. I read that one of Google's missions is to organize the world's information. I think one of the ways they could do that would be to generously support online encyclopedias Wikipedia and Citizendium. Both of these endeavors are non-profit organizations.
Posted by: Dan F. at January 27, 2007 06:22 PM