Google Leverages Its Trust
David says that Google's angle on snapping up library content is to prevent banner farmers from scanning it all in and wrapping AdSense around it.
That may be, but I can't help but think this is also a defensive move, based on leveraging one of the assets they have against Microsoft in the search war: Trust. Google still has a good enough reputation that some of the finest institutions in the world will trust their knowledge and assets to a publicly held company. That's astonishing, especially given the anti-corporate slant that a lot of universities have.
Google's canny to take advantage of that now, but I'm wondering if they'd be able to do the same thing a year from now. Interestingly, Microsoft's never been able to really have the trust of universities, because they went from being in a tech industry that was then still not respected to being a huge economic and cultural force that schools didn't trust. This, despite the fact that Microsoft still spends a lot more on research and shares more of its work with schools than Google does.