At the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, Internet titan Google announced The Literacy Project, designed to help teachers, learning organizations, and others search for (and share) literacy information. The service offers searches for digitized books, academic articles, and literacy-oriented information published in blogs, videos, and discussion groups. The service also ties in with Google Maps to enable users to location literacy organiations around the world. The service was developed in conjunction with the Frankfurt Book Fair Literacy Campaign (Litcam) and Unesco’s Institute for Lifelong Learning.
Although Google’s motives for setting up The Literacy Project are undeniably altruistic—although it’s certainly true that more readers in the world means more Internet searchers!—the company is also urging literacy groups to upload video segments to the site which document and demonstrate their successful teaching programs, thereby bolstering Google Video. And, of course, the service ties into Google’s controversial (and massive) book search service, which aims to scan and make searchable all the world’s printed books, a scheme which has run afoul of many copyright holders.
As much as Google’s famous “don’t be evil” motto might be a nice thought, it’s another—and very welcome—thing for a company to actively aid educational efforts.