Google Ranks Publishing Over Reading
Everyone is talking about the Google Reader, but what about Google Publishing?
Throughout the internet and on all social media sites, the talk has been all about what to do when Google stops their Reader service by this summer.
But that’s not the big story…
As I mentioned, everyone was surprised to hear the ‘buried’ news announcement at Google’s roundup of announcements. It will no longer be supporting the Google Reader as of July 1st. Even Porter Anderson admitted on Twitter that he was shocked at the Google Reader announcement. He is not one to be taken aback. So, as everyone is talking about what to do with their RSS feeds before July 1st, Google has been planning a shock and awe maneuver.
Publisher’s Lunch just came out with the news that Google is in fact getting into the publishing industry.
A division within Google–Niantic Labs–is readying the first in a potentially extensive line of ebooks and books, in conjunction with author and co-publisher Thomas Greanias and his @tlantis books. It’s known as the ALIGNMENT series and the first ebook novella, the 150-page THE ALIGNMENT: INGRESS, is set for publication on April 2 in the Google Play Store, but also on all other major ebook platforms, either simultaneously or shortly thereafter. (Pricing for the title has yet to be finalized.) The books tie-in to Niantic’s hot alternate/augmented reality MMOG Ingress that Google has been rolling out in closed beta over the past few months.
I found a clue at the website of Thomas Greanias, publisher and author. On his website, in the “About” page, you can find the following:
Thomas Greanias is the New York Times bestselling author of the Raising Atlantis and Dominium Dei trilogies. He is a widely recognized leader in digital lit with multiple No. 1 bestselling eBooks and Audiobooks through @lantis Books. His bestselling books in print from Simon & Schuster have been translated into a dozen languages and sold in 75 countries worldwide.
Washingtonople was the original name for Washington, D.C. The site plan for the new American capital was drawn up by French architect and Freemason Pierre L’Enfant under the personal direction of George Washington, also a Freemason. The site plan for America’s capital city—and the meaning of its alignment to the stars—first grabbed Greanias’s attention as an on-air reporter for NBC affiliates in D.C., where he had the rare experience of exploring tunnels beneath the Capitol that are older than the republic. He’s been back recently, and they’ve all been sealed off.
Well, most of them. A new tunnel has been discovered and will be explored in The Alignment: Federal City, one of the series in conjunction with the Niantic Project as well as Ingress. As an update, I checked Greanias’s page again today and if I hadn’t been unavoidably detained, I would have been able to come right on the heels of Publishers Lunch. As stated on another Updated (& fictionalized) news page of the author, “So Michael Cader scoops in this weekend’s Publishers Lunch dated March 15.”
Ingress is in beta by invitation only, but in scrounging around on the site, I can see why there are reportedly “another million or so” on the waiting list desperate to play.
Niantic Project uses maps, coordinates, video, chat screen grabs, full gaming options that are incredibly realistic; putting you in map view with the characters of today-the one that just passed you on Broadway texting on his iPhone 5.
On a personal note, this takes one of my current WIP (work in progress) and wipes it off the map, so to speak. Or it might be the best thing for it. I will watch the landscape.
But in the meantime there are over 500,000 active players in the beta version of Ingress.
Amazon might have anticipated this by launching its new publishing arm in addition to Amazon Publishing, With its myriad of imprints, Amazon has just announced a new publishing imprint named Little A (though some have reported L’il A or simply “a”). One of the stars in the new publishing house is The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson. “[A] literary thriller about the culture of gaming”.
This past Thanksgiving, as Barnes & Noble was still struggling, there was apocalyptic anxiety running through the book world. That anxiety seems from the long distant past, doesn’t it, when it was just five months ago.
So why would Amazon want to spread its back-end so thin with yet another imprint? I believe, especially with the inclusion of the above mentioned novel, that Amazon anticipated it and is trying to hold all of the cards. However, as much as Jeff Bezos and Amazon spread fear throughout the book selling land, the answer seems to add up to a justifiable “yes”.
Yet in this high stakes poker game, Amazon might have bet high without the cards to show for it.
Google has the means and the infrastructure to knock down the digital footprint that Bezos is standing on. There is, however, a greater chip they can throw into the bidding war in the digital publishing poker game; the infrastructure for Google Play is ready to plug-and-play for this new enterprise and there are far more programmers and computer scientists at Google than at Amazon. YouTube; owned by Google. Google maps are in play across the globe. They have every GPS coordinate known to man, not to mention all of the information and framing at their fingertips We can go into Google Books and Google Scholar along with a very long list of other resources, but you get the idea.
They are ready to roll out on all formats; not just Kindle, not just ePub-all of them.
I’m all about the story. I’ve just wanted to use the tools at our disposal to enrich the story. Google is about to do just that and has laid the ground work to become a powerhouse in the publishing business.
The big G is always ahead of the game. And I predict there are big changes ahead in digital publishing. It is a natural trend with the technology of today. For instance, even Business Wire is sending out multimedia press releases with pictures and videos. Not interactive, but it highlights the move in general away from drab news releases on company letterhead into the digital age. I was invited a few days ago to try a beta test of a digital software bundle to work in conjunction with Adobe’s Creative Suite; quite similar to what Google is currently doing. This march of technology and innovation is sure to leave lasting scars on the publishing industry more than any other industry; beyond what it has already done.
What do you think about these developments? Share your thoughts below. And consider signing up for updates at right. Please do share this as this is sure to be knock-down drag-out fight to the finish coming to an augmented reality near you. More drama on and off the page coming your way!
Image: Kevin Labianco via Compfight
Update: Now I admit, the latest video, if you click on the links, is a bit cheesy. But Google has the game played out in all sectors, even with characters tweeting as the characters. If you accidentally hit the wrong key, you get a very abrupt tweet that warns you to leave certain things alone. It is being played out over social media, across maps, videos, you name it. And the book that is still soon to be released hasn’t even been price-pointed yet. Can you imagine the stampede to the bookstore-or more likely Google Play-when it gets released? Talk about an author platform. They have changed the rules for Author Platforms. And Author Media (creme of the crop for building your author platform) needs to get onto this as this is the epitome of digital media at its finest and building your ‘fan-base’ before you even release!
Update: Check out the trailer for the book alone:
Here is the Facebook page.
The Ingress Google+ Page.
Publisher’s Lunch Page for The Alignment.
And if you check out the feeds of Google Plus pages the world over in real time, the augmented reality game has become a real-time action game played out throughout cities across the globe as well as all social media channels. Can you imagine a book launch before the book launch? Well, they have managed to do just that; and the marketing after the launch is amazing. Imagine your book in this scenario: