Most of the discussion about Google Books revolves around the intellectual property issues and the implications for the future of allowing Google to seize a monopolistic position. See this debate on the BBC news site for example.
I discovered on Languagelog a different slant on the question, an analysis of the quality of the metadata in Google Books. It's alarming. There are
- wrong publication dates galore
- absurb misclassifications: Moby Dick under Computers? Or look at these for Tristram Shandy: 'of the first ten hits for Tristram Shandy, four are classified as fiction, four as "Family & Relationships," one as "Biography & Autobiography," and one is not classified. Other editions of the novel are classified as "Literary Collections," "History," and "Music." '
- perhaps my favourite, a book called The Mosaic Navigator: The essential guide to the Internet Interface. Older readers may remember the Mosaic browser. I discarded it in favour of Netscape around 1995. Google gives this a publication date of 1939, over fifty years too early and attributes authorship to Sigmund Freud and Katherine Jones.
For more detail, for a response from Google Books, and a response to the response, see Google Books: a Metadata Train Wreck