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It was inevitable that it would come to this, but ultimately we all knew this was the direction Google was headed with their book project. Not simply scanning and indexing various libraries holdings, but moving toward e-readership was always in the cards for the search giant. And with their announcement today, Google moves into direct bookstore competition with Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and more.
Having learned from their predecessors, Google's new book offering features multiple platform reading and wireless syncing of position. Start a book on your laptop, continue on your phone, pick up where you left off on your tablet. Anywhere you have internet access you can read, while books downloaded to your Google Books (iTunes link) app can be read offline. But how do the locations stack up for Apple users?
The strengths and weaknesses of Google Books' site depends on how you view it:
Google Books app makes reading far more pleasurable and syncing easier, though again its clear that the folks at Google have really got their eyes fixed on the iPad rather than the smaller form factor of the iPhone.
Pages are laid out with decent margins on the iPad, while the iPhone felt cramped and forced. Also in the iPad version, there was the option for to turn on or off the 3D style page turning, while the iPhone was restricted to a quick slide to the next page.
Google Books first page on iPhone, Night Theme
There seemed to be some standard features, though some expected features were lacking:
What Google's size and scope will do to the quickly growing e-book model is hard to predict at this point, but they've come up with a decent first step in their marketing and presentation. We'll be interested to see how it grows from here.