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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Google Stops Research Datasets Program

Google is cancelling their Google Research Datasets aka Palimpsests program. Its aim was to provide large data sets for others to use. Wired in January this year wrote that Palimpsests’ storage “will be free to scientists and access to the data will be free for all.”

Now, according to Alberto Conti, Google sent out the following mail:

Dear Google Research Datasets user,

Thank you very much for trying out Google Research Datasets, providing interesting datasets, and giving us extremely useful feedback. (...)

As you know, Google is a company that promotes experimentation with innovative new products and services. At the same time, we have to carefully balance that with ensuring that our resources are used in the most effective possible way to bring maximum value to our users.

It has been a difficult decision, but we have decided not to continue work on Google Research Datasets, but to instead focus our efforts on other activities such as Google Scholar, our Research Programs, and publishing papers about research here at Google.

The Google Research Datasets service will remain active until the end of January 2009 during which time any datasets may be downloaded. For those datasets that are impractical to download, we will also happily provide interested users with a copy via hard drive shipment.

Google confirmed the cancellation to me in a mail. Wired has a follow-up post about this with a quote from stem cell biologist Attila Csordas: “It’s a sad story if it’s true ... Assuming it is true that might mean that Google is still a couple years away from directly helping the life sciences (on an infrastructural level).”

[Thanks TomHTML!]


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