Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2007 Issue

Where Did Froogle Go?

Checkout

"Show Google Checkout items only" eliminates results from non-Checkout vendors.


But, what if at some point Google decides to reverse the order? What if they show only Google Checkout items at first, and force you to do a secondary search for other items? When is the last time, after conducting a regular Google search, you have clicked the link at the bottom to "repeat the search with the omitted results included?" That's about how often people are likely to look at all Google Product Search matches if they ever make Google Checkout results the default, rather than the second choice. Think about that one. If Product Search becomes a significant source of sales, as it surely will, you would have no choice but to offer Google Checkout, like it or not. Google would be able to extract a commission on your sales from its search results, even if you do not advertise with them.

Will Google ever use this power to make Google Checkout irresistible? So far, Google has leveraged its search engine to support advertising, but has scrupulously avoided blurring the lines. The ads are there, some even at the top of their search results, but it is clearly stated they are sponsored links. Meanwhile, search results remain free of influence. The formulas that bring sites to the top of Google's results are obscure and zealously guarded, but they remain untainted by advertiser influence. You may be able to buy your local politician for the price of a nice campaign contribution, but Google remains pure. In another blog entry, concerning Google's recent purchase of online advertising promoter Doubleclick, VP Susan Wojcicki writes, "Sponsored information served by Google has always been, and will always be, clearly distinguished from objective content available via our search results."

We'll assume this is true, though no one can promise anything forever, but the current situation is not quite the same. If Product Search results became the default, there would be no blurring of the lines. It would simply require an additional search to find all results, and presuming there were several matches within the Product Search results, it is unlikely that anyone would look further. It would be reminiscent of Microsoft's use of its operating system to leverage other products. As long as Microsoft provided you with word processing, a spreadsheet, internet browser, audio software, etc., what need was there to look further? There has never been a hint that Google intends to use its power in quite such a heavy-handed way, but when a business achieves such dominance in a field as has Google or Microsoft, the possibility is always there.

Now many people in the book business may not think what Google does is terribly important to them. Froogle/Google Product Search is a secondary source of internet sales today, well behind sites such as Amazon, Abebooks, and Alibris. Think again. Online selling is all about search, and Google is all about search. This is the first company to take Microsoft head on at anything and crush them. They will become increasingly important for finding books in the future. Google will make the rules. The rest of us need to understand their rules so we can effectively play by them.

Rare Book Monthly

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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown on SOYUZ 9<br>An exhaustive manuscript on life in space. [Trans: On-Board Flight Journal for Spacecraft Soyuz-9, 1970]. US$ 6,000-9,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> SOYUZ 18? Flown Navigation Celestial Globe. Soyuz 18 lasted from May 24-July 26, 1975. US$ 30,000-40,000
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Space Suit from ISS Expidition 6. Worn by Flight Engineer Don Pettit on his dramitic return to earth. US$ 25,000-35,000
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Michael Collins' Flown Crew-Signed Apollo 11 Emblem. One of the very few Armstrong signed mission artifacts. US$ 50,000-70,000
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  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
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    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>The Chap Book</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>Troupe de Mlle Églantine</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Philippe Henri Noyer, <br><i>Limonade Brault</i>, 1938. <br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br><i>The Great Men of the World</i>,<br>designer unknown, circa 1945-46. <br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>James Montgomery Flagg,<br><i>Wake Up, America!</i>, 1917.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Alfred F. Burke, <i>Share / Jewish <br>Relief Campaign</i>, circa 1915.<br>$3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Ludwig Hohlwein, <i>Marke Pkz / <br>Burger - Kehl & Co.</i>, circa 1911. <br>$8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br>Gian Emilio Malerba,<i> E.A. Mele / Modo e Novita per Signora</i>, circa 1900. $7,000 to $10,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true originall copies,</i> 1632.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.

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