In Judging Google’s book strategy, Owen Scott provides a New Zealander’s take on Google Books, focusing on the fact that Google has taking the aggressive approach of acting first and asking forgiveness later. Although it is exactly this approach that has many Google critics crying foul, Scott notes that many earlier innovations have likewise stirred up plenty of controversy and legal wrangling; only to eventually become accepted and welcome (motorcars is his example).
Scott notes that:
It is possible that the value Google delivers to us outweighs our concerns about abusing its power.
Information has been made a lot more accessible which has benefited us all.
While the claim that the value of Google Books outweighs concerns about copyright, privacy, and the creation of a de-facto monopoly on digitized books is controversial enough, Scott goes on to suggest:
Maybe there are lessons for us all to focus on delivering on our company mission, the fundamental way we deliver value to our stakeholders, rather than worry about rules and regulations.
Readers of this blog (all 3 of you!) know that I am generally supportive of the Google Books project, but even I think the idea of innovating without regard to rules and regulations may be taking things a bit far.