Thursday, February 05, 2009

Google Book Machine

There has been a lot of competition in getting book content on your mobile or making you mobile with your library of book content. Since the launch of the Kindle and book reader apps on the iPhone the mobile book has been a little bit of a battle ground. In the background has been the not inconsiderable presence of Google which has of course been creating a very large content repository. That aces the reader applications (and always will).

The one interesting aspect of the last few months activity has been that there has been few competitive moves into the mobile space by Google. This despite the fact that Google has invested millions in the development of a new mobile platform named Android. (I have had a draft half written post for months titled 'Does your Android read?'). Today Google announced that they have opened up part of their considerable book database to mobile readers. The company says that they have over 1.5million out of copyright books which will now be available to mobile readers. Perhaps that's not that appealing to anyone looking for the recent Patterson title but Google's ambitions are far more expansive than that. Indeed, Google has cornered the base of the pyramid of content and adding successive layers on top will be only a matter of time.

From their blog post:
One of the great things about an iPhone or Android phone is being able to play Pacman while stuck in line at the post office. Sometimes though, we yearn for something more than just playing games or watching videos.

What if you could also access literature's greatest works, such as Emma and The Jungle Book, right from your phone? Or, some of the more obscure gems such as Mark Twain's hilarious travelogue, Roughing It? Today we are excited to announce the launch of a mobile version of Google Book Search, opening up over 1.5 million mobile public domain books in the US (and over half a million outside the US) for you to browse while buying your postage.
Given Google's technical expertise, this content, including all the newer stuff, will be arranged and rearranged in all sorts of ways that will benefit readers. That may not be the case with the content on some of the other platforms. And don't forget that Android is an open platform so there is no telling what application developers will come up up. Certainly, the size of the Google library will be a significant differentiator over the others but given the recent agreement with publishers over the copyright issue, the content pool is likely to get much bigger.

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