I have a love/hate relationship with Google, and my response to the "Explore Shakespeare with Google" site is no exception. As a bardolator, I'm always happy to see Master Shakespeare get more exposure, and I'm glad Google is sponsoring New York City's Shakespeare in the Park program. (Hint to Google: other cities have Shakespeare in the Park also. Even in the Midwest.)
If you want, you can read a complete play online (from a book scanned for the Google Books Library Project) or search plays for a particular word or phrase. Of course, there are links to other Google Shakespeare resources–or, more accurately, Google resources that can be used by Shakespeare students and enthusiasts, like Google Groups and Google Earth (for exploring the Globe Theatre, naturally).
But the shortcomings of Google Shakespeare are many and obvious. To mention just a few:
- Maybe this is idiosyncratic, but on the web, I'd rather scroll than "turn pages."
- Where are the sonnets and narrative poems?
- There are links galore to help you shell out money for Shakespeare's works, but I don't see any links to freely available online versions like those at Project Gutenberg. (After all, it's not like the profits go to the author.)
I was excited when I read the news about Google Shakespeare, but half an hour's exploration leaves me with no desire to visit the site again. "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me." (Exit, pursued by a bear.)
[Note: this entry is being crossposted to my Random Modulation blog.]