On Wednesday, Google announced the launch of a Web-based application for reading books digitized by the search engine giant’s Book Search initiative. Google Web Book Reader tool works directly in a Web browser and supports zooming as well as a fullscreen mode, just the way Google Maps and Gmail work.
In Google’s latest application, books that are available through the search can still be downloaded in PDF format; however Google’s online utility replaces the need for the bulky Adobe Reader. Users can switch to a two-page view that appears like a physical book, or read one page per screen like a standard Web page. Scrolling through the book is instant using the mouse.
On the right side of the page, there is a search and table of contents which facilitates users to jump through to different sections of a book, as well as links to buy the book from a number of online retailers. Google has also linked the application up to Google Scholar so users can locate works that reference the book.
Google developer Nathan Naze said, “Just click on “About this book” to find more books related to the book you’re reading. If the book How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains interests you, you’ll probably like Comic Book Artist Collection, Vol. 1. We also revised our ‘About this book’ page to provide better information for in-copyright books, from which you can just see short snippets or a limited preview.”
Since Google is still in the process of digitizing a number of major libraries which include those of the Universities of Michigan and California, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, as well as the New York Public Library, thereby limiting the number of full books available for reading at present. Google recently signed a deal to scan 3 million works from Complutense University in Madrid. With this move Complutense University became the first non-English library to join the Google Book Project. Spanish-language books including those from Cervantes and Sor Juana Ines are to be digitized, along with thousands of works in French, German, Latin, Italian and English.