21 July 2009

Has Google Forgotten Celera?

One of the reasons I wrote my book Digital Code of Life was that the battle between the public Human Genome Project and the privately-funded Celera mirrored so closely the battle between free software and Microsoft - with the difference that it was our genome that was at stake, not just a bunch of bits. The fact that Celera ultimately failed in its attempt to sequence and patent vast chunks of our DNA was the happiest of endings.

It seems someone else knows the story:

Celera was the company founded by Craig Venter, and funded by Perkin Elmer, which played a large part in sequencing the human genome and was hoping to make a massively profitable business out of selling subscriptions to genome databases. The business plan unravelled within a year or two of the publication of the first human genome. With hindsight, the opponents of Celera were right. Science is making and will make much greater progress with open data sets.

Here are some rea[s]ons for thinking that Google will be making the same sort of mistake as Celera if it pursues the business model outlined in its pending settlement with the AAP and the Author's Guild....

Thought provoking stuff, well worth a read.

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Anonymous said...

I asked Google books why thy don't include Gutenberg editions in their search results.

They replied that they have to defend the interests of 'their' publishers.

I've posted the entire correspondence on my blog .

Glyn Moody said...

Thanks for the link. Google not really being very helpful there, were they?