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Google Buys OCLC, Announces New Products

Submitted by Jenny Levine on April 1, 2007 - 5:24am

We don't normally report breaking news here at TechSource, but the non-disclosure act expired at midnight, and we want to alert librarians to the changes they'll be seeing when they arrive at work Monday morning. The rumors you've been hearing are true. At the ACRL Conference in Baltimore this morning, Google announced it has purchased OCLC and all of its holdings.

New OCLC home page

Some changes will be more immediate than others, including cosmetic changes you can already see if you visit sites such as WorldCat and FirstSearch. The OCLC home page began redirecting to late last night, and new logos are beginning to appear online. There weren't many details in the announcement and the terms have not been disclosed yet, but here's what we know so far.

- As of today, WorldCat has been renamed "Google Library," and every work ever published is now available for full-text searching in the system. Publishers are already crying foul and their lawyers are furiously filing lawsuits, but our reading of copyright law and the fact that Google has added the name "library" to the product means the lawsuits will ultimately fail.


- Officials from both sides confirmed that work has already begun on combining GoogleLibrary and FirstSearch into a single product. They were careful to avoid using the terms "federated search," "resolver," and "digital object identifier," noting that no one else in the world knows what those things are. Instead, they showed some screenshots of the new product and announced that the beta of "Google It All" should be available in about two weeks at

- QuestionPoint will be renamed "Google Answers," thereby reviving the defunct service. This will finally allow librarians to truly "go where their users are," while also allowing Google to integrate AdSense into the reference interview. Officials at Google reassured us that patron privacy will be held to the same standard in which current Google users' privacy is protected. Fulfilling QuestionPoint's original mission, the 24/7 virtual reference network will remain "a source of unique centralized knowledge resources built by a collaborative network of member libraries," but the back-end will be rewritten using the Google Talk client as the base. Expect integration into Google It All in Q3 of this year.

- The fate of the Dublin Core initiative is unknown at this time, although it is promising that it was renamed "Cupertino Core." Officials admitted that CoreRank is their best hope to keep Google ahead of the search engine pack.

Naturally, the OCLC bloggers have been unable to comment on all of this, but word on the street is that OOOOOOCLC already is hard at work on an update of the 2005 "Perceptions" report in the hope that it will show a move away from libraries being perceived as "only about books."

Is this Library 3.0? Only time will tell.

Update: More news and analysis over at Hectic Pace.

Comments (17)

It's been one year since

It's been one year since this was posted and yet it is still plain hilarious. How about taking this one seriously for a change? We need these kinds especially now.

April fool? And I almost

April fool? And I almost believed it

I had to laugh when I came

I had to laugh when I came upon this story many months after April Fool's Day. I found it while Googling for something serious. Almost immediately I conjectured, 'This isn't real.' So before trying to confirm it with ProQuest and Ebscohost resources I decided to check the date, April 1, 2007. Of course! April Fool's Day! Nice one, ALA. But that's not the funny part. The funny part is the ALA is 'library people.' Most have M.L.S. degrees. I'm not even a librarian and I saw through it, how could any of these smart folks who do online research every day have a problem with it? Heck, get a funny bone, people. I bet the people who responded negatively to this 'news' are the same people that forward every outrageous claim they receive via email to every one of their contacts without first checking out the credibility of the tale at Well, I am an infobroker, and I don't have an M.L.S. degree. In fact, I don't have a four year degree. I obtained a general ed. associates degree just to have lifetime library privs at the university's libraries. Becoming a grad, even a two year degree grad, was the most effective way to do it. It is my contention to do effective research all you have to know is the index is in the back of the book, the table of contents is in the front of the book, and what you want is somewhere in the middle. Thoroughly understanding how to apply Google syntax is a plus too. And if you do medical research it is really useful to understand MeSH. You pick up a lot more along the way. If you have research oriented brain you pick up useful new stuff every day. You don't need a title and a degree to find work, find facts, or see through really funny April Fool's stories.

I DID post it to one of my

I DID post it to one of my MLS courses, and then had to apologize and look really silly.

I wish this were true,

I wish this were true, except for the name thing, and the googlephobia.

I ALMOST posted this to one

I ALMOST posted this to one of my MLS courses, until I read that the oclc homepage would be redirected to Pretty funny, guys!

Funny on the 1st. It no

Funny on the 1st. It no longer being a day for foolishness, I would appreciate a new post. Stop crying, 'wolf.' Keep TechSource reliable.

Very often, a funny story is

Very often, a funny story is built upon an unpleasant truth...

Finely crafted April Fool's

Finely crafted April Fool's story. (IMHO the best one since Sport's Illustrated did the pitcher one years ago!) Congrats to a group of highly creative and talented people!

Why do people think stuff

Why do people think stuff like this is funny? Let's make up a stupid story and post it on our blog!! Wow, we're so talented and hip. Get a life people.



A fun April fool! Thanks for

A fun April fool! Thanks for the good laugh, Jenny.

So, April fool, right?

So, April fool, right?

Thanks, everyone, but I do

Thanks, everyone, but I do want to note this was a group effort. It just happened to be posted under my login.

Impressive news. Looking

Impressive news. Looking forward to read the follow up. ;-)

well blogged Jenny, and

well blogged Jenny, and great follow up work Andrew! ;)

Wow, huh? I was able to

Wow, huh? I was able to reach a few folks at OCLC last night. Some commentary and their take over at Hectic Pace.