Google: Information Does Not Want to Be Free Anymore

Today’s Digital program at the Gothenburg Book Fair featured a presentation by Google’s Santiago de la Mora on cloud-based e-books. E-books are now part of the Google Play-service, but as opposed to ad-based business model we are used to for Google’s free services, this is actually an e-book store where you pay for the content. So it seems, not even Google believes information wants to be free. I asked de la Mora if he saw this as a paradigm shift, but he talked about how some enterprise services were always paid-services. However, I think this is profoundly different, with the case of e-books, it is actually paying for content – just that which so many have said is impossible on the internet. Now, if Google believes they can do it, then we should all wish them the best of luck. This strategy could have some profound implications on the market for online content.

Remember Stewart Brand’s old quote “information wants to be free”. Except it’s just half a quote, the full aphorism is “Information Wants To Be Free. Information also wants to be expensive. …That tension will not go away”. Looks like Google revisited that gem of wisdom!