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How Did Google Book Search Start?

May 23, 2007

Google Book Search made a debut in 2004 as Google Print, but the project was actually started in 2002, taking picture of every page manually by two people, Marissa Mayer (vice president of search products) & Larry Page (founder).

This article, “PDF Too Slow for Google“, told how this project began:

First, Mayer and Page set up a hi-res camera, held in place with rubber bands. She flipped the pages while he ran the shutter. Yet it wasn’t quite working out until they broke out another piece of hardware not normally associated with photography: a metronome, the device musicians use to keep steady time while playing their instruments.

“We [took the pictures] to the beat of the metronome, so he wouldn’t be taking pictures of my thumbs,” said Mayer, an artificial intelligence specialist who was one of Google’s first employees and did much of the early development of the search engine’s interface.

(also mentioned in Google Book Search – History

Regarding the speed of loading PDF files, Acrobat Reader isn’t the best choice; Foxit Reader is faster*. If you still prefer Acrobat Reader, try to find the 8.0 Lite version, which removes many unnecessary plugins.

* For Windows only. Foxit Reader doesn’t open the pdf file inside Firefox but in another window. If you have both Acrobat & Foxit Readers and you want to let Foxit Reader open the file all the time when clicking the link in Firefox, you can change the setting in Tools > Options > Content > File Types>Manage>PDF>Change Action… and look for Foxit.

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