Last week, Google announced that they would be partnering with U. Michigan, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, and the New York Public Library to make their entire collections searchable through a Google interface. Public-domain works will be available in their entirety and works still under copyright will have snippets returned along with information on where the works can be obtained. Google has set up their own Google Print page describing the project. They claim that they already have a Beta version working, but it’s clearly very Beta – if you type in the name of a Shakespeare play, you get a study guide for the play that was scanned in, and not the full text of the actual play, even though there are many sites out there that make the plays available. And “Shakespeare King Lear” doesn’t trigger a book result, while “King Lear” alone does.
I think this is a really awesome project and can’t wait to see if it actually works out, but I think that they’ll need much of the six years they project their scanning to take in order for it to really take off.