Authors live at Google
May 8, 2007 2:20 PM   Subscribe

It's the closest we'll come to "working" there: Google brings in authors to speak to their employees, and now you can see presentations from Lawrence Lessig, John McCain, Metafilter's own John Scalzi, and more.
posted by drezdn (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do the employees actually have time to go and watch these things?
posted by smackfu at 2:35 PM on May 8, 2007

Not to suggest for a moment that everything Google does isn't pioneering, talks by authors and other notables has been happening routinely at other tech companies for many years . . . but it is cool to that the vids are available.
posted by donovan at 2:42 PM on May 8, 2007

Hmm, Scalzi said that you can still find online copies of his work, and he didn't seem too upset. I don't see it on anymore, but does anyone else know where to find it?

He also mentions someone who did really well by releasing their work into creative commons. That's great for them, but I think if everyone did it, it wouldn't cause much excitement, since while releasing something into CC might be a good way to attract publicity among people who like Sci-Fi, it won't be if every book is done that way.
posted by delmoi at 2:46 PM on May 8, 2007

There was also this one by Erin McKean posted previously that confirmed my belief in geek chic.
posted by ikahime at 2:57 PM on May 8, 2007


It's there, just at some non-obvious URLs -- i.e., spidered my site after I took down the direct links to the pages but before I took out the pages themselves. I would tell you what the URLs are, but I don't remember them off the top of my head and I'm waaaay too lazy to try to remember after five years. It's probably easier just to check out the book from the library.

I do still have the entire Agent to the Stars novel on my own personal site for anyone to read, no hunting required.

Re: The "if everyone released their stuff via CC it wouldn't be a big deal" argument: Well, even now not everyone who releases their work via CC gets a bump from it, so this argument is axiomatic. Releasing something online will work for some and not for others, and I while I think overall it has been more beneficial than not for a number of authors, I would suggest to authors that they have more than this one avenue of publicity lined up when they go about pimpin' their wares.
posted by jscalzi at 3:18 PM on May 8, 2007

Didn't the shine come off Google some time ago? John McCain? Oh BROTHER.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 3:27 PM on May 8, 2007

"Don't be evil."

John McCain.

Cognitive Dissonance.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 3:30 PM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wow, is anyone actually rooting for McCain anymore? I can't figure out where his support is coming from. All these years of fellating Dear Leader have certainly caused him to lose his rebel outsider appeal. I'd vote for a Cheney/Rove ticket before I'd vote McCain.
posted by mullingitover at 3:47 PM on May 8, 2007

posted by pruner at 4:12 PM on May 8, 2007

I took a quick scan but I didn't see the video of John Hodgman when he did an Authors@Google talk back in January at the NYC office. His monologue was mostly similar material from his other book tour stops (talking about the history of hobos, etc.) but he engaged in a very funny Q&A after. He was accompanied by his singer songwriter sidekick Jonathan Coulton.
posted by moxyberry at 4:20 PM on May 8, 2007

I've been following the GoogleTalks user at Google Video for about a year now. The upside of Google Video is you can download copies and watch them on an ipod when you're stuck on a plane, etc.

I can't seem to find the user pages at Google Video anymore and searches for "Talks @Google" seem to lead to YouTube mostly.
posted by mathowie at 5:42 PM on May 8, 2007

Interning at Google in summer 2005, I took advantage of the little lending library they had there for commute reading (I couldn't find it again in 2006, which made me feel sad) and at one point borrowed one of Lessig's books.

Only when I got it onto the Caltrain did I realize it was autographed to Larry Page. I have to admit eBay crossed my mind, but a. it was clearly evil and b. who would believe me?
posted by crinklebat at 6:02 PM on May 8, 2007

Google's videos
posted by etaoin at 6:19 PM on May 8, 2007

Google is still in that quaint phase when the company is rich and therefore kind and generous to its people. This will change.
posted by Charles Wilson at 6:32 PM on May 8, 2007

jscalzi: Since you actually showed up in the thread, let me mention one response to the idea that e-books will never take off. You're missing the most obvious use-case for digitally downloaded books: simply printing them out. Now I think the general problem with that is it would actually be more expensive then buying a copy of the book, but if printer ink could be made cheaper it might be worthwhile. On the other hand, you could print them chapter by chapter, which might be more convenient.
posted by delmoi at 6:57 PM on May 8, 2007

I haven't watched many of these, but I watched the Neil Gaiman one a little while back after he linked to it. It seemed like a pretty average reading/Q&A for him (which is to say: Charming, entertaining, etc, etc.).
posted by sparkletone at 7:06 PM on May 8, 2007


I didn't miss that use, I just don't think it will be a particularly significant draw. I suspect that most people don't find the prospect of printing out chapters of a book particularly appealing; they want the finished product. Because when you're done self-printing a novel, you don't have a book, you have a big pile of paper (trust me on this one).
posted by jscalzi at 9:25 PM on May 8, 2007

Digital books don't stand a chance until there is digital paper, i.e., a surface that uses reflected light. The geeks keep promising digital paper but they never deliver it.
posted by Charles Wilson at 11:49 PM on May 8, 2007

Larry Lessig gave a talk a couple of years ago that I was able to attend. I was really glad to see his way of thinking being shared inside the company.
posted by Nelson at 1:27 AM on May 9, 2007

Digital books don't stand a chance until there is digital paper

Bah. I have read exclusively on my old Thinkpad for more than 7 years now, and I read a lot. The old workhorse's power supply recently took a dump (oh, woe, oh gnashing of teeth!), and I figured I'd do a leisurely reread of Infinite Jest, one of the couple of dozen actual paper books I own, while I try and track down a new one.

Paper sucks by comparison. I can't wait to get back to my laptop reading (actually, I really want a Samsung Q1 Ultra, but can't countenance paying for one at the moment, so I'll see if I can tease another year or two out of Grandpa Thinkpad).

It's all what you're used to.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:35 AM on May 9, 2007

The dictionary talk was really great. Really.
posted by oddman at 12:16 PM on May 9, 2007

May I just be the first to say how adorable John Scalzi is? Also, I'd like to see the interpretive dance, please.
posted by dejah420 at 5:13 PM on May 9, 2007

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