On the one hand this is pretty sweet:
The official Google Blog and the Inside Book Search Blog just announced the new Google Book Search API, with LibraryThing as one of the first implementors. (The others are libraries; I’ll be posting about what they’ve done over on Thingology.)
In sum, LibraryThing now links to Google Books for book scans—full or partial—and book information.
Google Book Search links can be seen two places:
* In your catalog. Choose “edit styles” to add the column. The column reflects only the exact edition you have.
* On work pages. The “Buy, borrow, swap or view” box on the right now includes a Google Books section. Clicking on it opens up a “lightbox” showing all the editions LibraryThing can identify on Google Book Search.
But on the other:
This is a little worrying. Google are stepping into the flow of traffic and pulling it in with content. You cannot blame them, they have put the investment in, they have been far sighted and now they are in a position to exploit that. I’m just getting a little uncomfortable with their power in this area and what they might mean going forward.
As a consumer I’m going to enjoy the feature though, despite my reservations and the limitations that Tim highlights in the rest of his blog post! But there is some good stuff too Here:
LibraryThing and its members can also like to take credit for moving the API along in another way. Your help with the Google Book Search Search bookmarklet forced the issue of GBS data. The message to Google was clear: our members wanted to use GBS with LibraryThing, and if Google wouldn’t provide the information, members would get it themselves. After some to-and-fro with Google, we voluntarily disabled the service. But I think it moved the openness ball a few feet, and that’s something for members to be proud of.
Worried and thinking!