Google books is great!

By Razib Khan | June 25, 2009 12:46 am

Mark Gimein defends Google Books over at The Big Money. New technology can be misused, but in general I tend to agree with Gimein. Along with Amazon’s Search Inside feature Google Books is an excellent resource to look up and cross-reference obscure facts and data. With the utilization of Google Translate you can even get a good sense of some books in languages you don’t know (I generally use this to make sure I understand the legend for a table or figure).

  • agnostic

    Coincidentally, I’m putting up a post tonight at GNXP classic about monopoly and innovation. When did people ever think that competition fostered major innovation? In that case, you’re too desperate and strapped for cash to take huge risks, lest you go under due to a single failure. The history says so too — Bell Labs and the Dept of Defense during their hey-day being the two most obvious examples.
    Google and Amazon have so many awesome products because they are insulated from competition and can devote huge resources to weird shit that might not pan out — as with most of those Google side-projects. But unless you try out a huge number, you won’t find those rare gems like Google Books, Google Scholar, Blogger, Google Maps, etc.
    Population size must be large to find rare beneficial mutations. The maximum population size is controlling all of the market, so monopoly is the most likely way toward major innovation.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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