New Features on Google Book Search

By June 19, 2009

The Google Book Search Blog announced new features yesterday which improve user experience and social media content. Along with better search options and built in content menu for each text, Google Book Search is now a little more fun to use and easier to share with others. When browsing a particular book or magazine, the new link feature provides a line of permanent code, similar to that in Maps or YouTube. The option was available before, but is much easier than using  Embedded Viewer API. The link provides a URL or embedding tag for simple copy and paste to an e-mail or blog. This feature also extends to their "clip" tool, enabling a reader to embed or link to a specific section of text.

For "full view" - some magazines or books in public domain - a new viewing option is available. As before, the window can display one page or two pages side-by-side, but now there is a "thumbnail" view. For quick scrolling through material, or browsing illustrated material, this option is useful.

With a variety of possible applications, there is plain text mode. In the toolbar section for a full view text, is a "plain text" button. This accesses an HTML version of the book, derived from optical character recognition. This viewing mode enables a visually impaired user to employ text-to-speech or other accessibility software.

While the default viewing mode for books is one page or two pages, with vertical scrolling, readers can now use a page turn option. An animation highlights the visible section of the page to make it easier to keep track of the page turn.

The overview page of each book or magazine issue provides even more information. Along with basic bibliographic data, there is meta-data such as key words and phrases, as well as reviews culled form blogs, ratings and book seller links.

The Google Book Search improvements make it even easier to find public domain books, or search and read selections from everything the site has in its database.

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