Day: June 29, 2006

Blogs, Begorrah and Ireland

I have mentioned before that MySpace is a huge publisher, well in Ireland (And its strange that I don’t mention it more given that I live here) Bebo.com is the king of the jungle. Everyone is on Bebo it seems sometimes.

But there is more to online publishing in Ireland than Bebo or even MySpace which does have a large share of the market. Gatesby Publishing, the company behind New York Dog have launched a blog which is to all intents and purposes a rip off of Gawker and they have called it Blogorrah. You can check out a sample post here and a rather sceptical view of them here at Blurred Keys a good Irish media blog.

Our three leading newspapers are online. The Irish Times with Ireland.com has a paid subscription service that really, to my mind, is not worth it. The Irish Examiner has the least annoying site and the Irish Independent has a free subscription model that is just frustrating. Most shockingly only Ireland.com offers and RSS feed.

There are dozens and dozens of blogs of course. but one key feature that the Irish Blogosphere has is an online simple syndicator called irishblogs which posts slugs of registered blogs as soon as the feed spits them into their database. I rather like this site and the local nature of it as it is a manageable level. I can see too how over time a site like this might well develop. There are rudimentary features for “bumping” stories but they rarely seem to make a difference.

As for Book Publishers the large ones have decent sites but nothing to shout about and our book retailers are much the same. Indeed I much prefer to shop online at play.com or amazon.co.uk than bother with the awful easons.ie.

What strikes me the most about Ireland and online publishing here is how much of the sector is dominated by individuals. The vibrancy of personal posting and blog building si destined to be affected by the emergence of sites like Blogorrah over time of course, but for now it is great to see an active blogosphere here.

Google Book Search scores a victory

Google announced on it official blog yesterday that:

WBG, a German publisher, today decided to drop its petition for a preliminary injunction against the Google Books Library Project. WBG (whose legal action was supported by the German Publishers Association as an industry model) made the decision after being told by the Copyright Chamber of the Regional Court of Hamburg that its petition was unlikely to succeed.

The news is good for ordinary consumers and not as important for Google as it may seem. For the consumer it means that Google Book Search will become more effective over time as its right to display snippets seems to be now legally justified. Google Book Search has the edge in terms of search even if others have snazzier readers on hand. This change will not improve its offering to a great extent but perhaps it will free up resources within Google to concentrate on improving the overall product.
Businesses though, if they have any sense, will see this as spur to move ahead with their own projects to create digital databases of their own books, either singly or as part of a collective.