Google and how to scan books fast

Google engineers are always looking for ways to getter and deliver information faster and more accurately. The latest example is the scanning project, that allows Google to scan physical book and add them to the Google book web site.
Google is probably the company that scans more books in the world. They have a legal agreement by which they can scan every book in some of the biggest libraries in the world. They also have a deal with publishers that will allow them very soon to sell books that are out of print.
Scanning books real fast
The latest information about the scanning project is that they are using technology to reduce the time needed to scan books. The idea even became a patent, which was granted in March of 2009.
The patent describes a technique, by which an infrared system is used before a page is scanned. The infrared light can detect how curved are the pages of a book. With this information, scanners can set up the software to correct any distortion due to the curvature of the book. It is just like using software to project a flat image out of a curved object.
With this added help, the scanners are able to process more books, since the page doesn't need to be flattened on the screen. Also, the results are more accurate, because any distortion is taken care during the scanning phase.
Making all books available
It is interesting to see how fast can Google proceed with the book scanning project. While other companies, such as Microsoft, stopped their book scanning project, Google is going even faster. Nobody out of Google knows how long will probably take until they have every book scanned, but it looks like they are getting there faster.
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