How Google Scans Books

f?id=49fda89514b9b9fc00a0e76e&maxX=370&m

How is Google scanning thousands of books for its book search product? Of course, the company has developed a wonky, proprietary scanning method, and has patented it. That’s patent 7508978, “Detection of grooves in scanned images,” invented by Francois-Marie Lefevere and Marin Saric and assigned to Google. 

The key is flattening pages to make them easier to process via word-recognition software. So instead of manually pushing books against a glass plate or slicing the binding off, Google uses an infrared projector and stereo camera to determine the curvature of a book’s page and the position of its spine, so it can generate a “flatter” version of the photo. In the end, that seems to be less work, and much gentler on the book. Neat.

(Via NPR, via Techmeme.)

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.