Google Book Search Goes Mobile: Teh Suckage

February 5, 2009

Maude Newton re-tweeted a link to an article about Google making a mobile-friendly version of its Book Search writer-robbery site.

I went to have a look.

As some of you will already know, on and off I have been working to wrestle The People of the Abyss by Jack London into an ePub eBook.

Since I have become very familiar with London’s book, I zeroed it on that one to see what it looked like on the new mobile Google Book Search.

In short: It’s FAIL!

Just look at these screensnaps, with click to enlarge:

I squeezed the desktop Firefox window to simulate a cellphone screen. Pretty neat at first glance, eh? I thought for sure this would replace all the work I’ve been doing on my ePub edition.

But then … eh, WTF?

From the first word, it’s riddled with typos!

And it just goes on and on like that:

At first, I thought all they were doing was re-using the dreadful OCRed text. But something else is going on here. Something bizarre. Look at the OCRed text (click to enlarge):

The first word is correct and the other artifacts aren’t present!

So what is Google doing here?

I’m not sure.

But it’s sloppy, inexcusable, and tantamount to vandalizing historical texts.

I will continue with my ePub version.

Unlike Google, with its thousands of employees and billions of dollars in the bank, I care about the work of writers. My version won’t have typos.