Google Print expands into Europe

Google is expanding its controversial Google Print service to eight European countries. The programme now covers all the major European languages that will give it a springboard to many other parts of the world.

At the world famous Frankfurt Book Fair, the uber-search engine will announce it has now introduced native language versions of Google Print to France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain. Although the amount of non-English content is said to be ‘modest’ at the moment, Google says it is growing. Several publishers from European countries are expected to announce that they have signed deals to transfer their books to cyberspace.

The move into Europe takes place amidst a scramble to digitise the world’s books. Ever since Google made its announcement at the end of last year the strategy has been surrounded by controversy. France’s chief librarian accused the search engine of cultural imperialism, and is being sued for copyright infringement by members of the US Authors Guild.

Not that this has stopped competitors piling in. Yahoo recently announced a rival consortium. More significantly, last month the European Commissioner Viviane Reding announced Europe’s own project for digitising Europe’s cultural heritage.

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