Blog-Google Book Search and Geo-referencing

A great post from SJ, Intro to GIS

Google Book Search is a service offered by the search engine company Google. Basically, you can search the contents of books. But you can also use it to geo-reference and map the content of books. It is an interesting concept based on the idea that everything on the web can be geo-referenced. What this service essentially does is it allows you to answer the question “Where are the places in my book?” The collection of books that are geo-referenced is expanding. Genres include travel, fiction, non-fiction and books from all ages.

This feature is fun because it allows the reader to “visit” the places they read about in their book. While this option is not yet offered for all book searches, it opens up a whole new world for book lovers alike. Google is still in the midst of scanning as many books as possible from university libraries and other sources all across the US, so it may take some time for the new partnership between Google Book Search and GoogleMaps to mature.

However, if this new partnership is successful, the road towards a geo-referenced search engine may not be so long. Google is already able to scrape the web for all sorts of specified information. Google has already categorized searches into “news”, “web”, “blogs”, “comprehensive”, “video” and “groups”. Under these categories, you can ask Google to alert you when your search appears in the top ten or twenty searches under that topic. This service is called Google Alerts. You can see that it is possible to search all these categories for “places”. Whether, you are tagging places in books or on web sites, it all stems from the basic idea that in every piece of information that is displayed in print or on the Internet, it is possible to geo-reference that information.

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