Google Book Search, which allows you to search text from around a million books that have been scanned by Google, has an interesting history.
Though Google Book Search made a public debut in 2004 as Google Print, the seeds of this book scanning project were sown in 2002 inside Larry's office when he and Marissa scanned the first paper book manually using a digital camera.
Larry took pictures of the book pages with his camera while Marissa flipped the individual pages after every shot. The Google duo could scan all the 300 pages of that book into PDF format in full 40 minutes.
They used a metronome, a practice tool for musicians, to maintain a steady duration between two consecutive shots.
This interesting story, mentioned in the Google Book Search history page, was also by Marissa during her keynote address at the Acrobat PDF conference.
Well, that was just the prototype. Today, Google is scanning more than 3,000 books per day according to NYT.
Related: Turn a Camera into a Book Scanner