Google Books for iPhone

Oh, well, yes, I suppose it’s also for Android phones. I’ll happily plug Google’s phone platform too. Actually, I’ll happily drive to Google’s house and clean the dead leaves out of their gutters. Google is officially The Coolest Company On The Planet.

Why? Today they’ve released Google Books for Mobile. Plug http://books.google.com/m into your mobile browser and look what happens:

 

Google Books for Mobile: Top page

Google Books for Mobile: Top page

Yes, all 1.5 million public-domain texts in the Google Books project are now available to mobile users, behind a fairly awesome, slick interface. I’m in the mood for some PG Wodehouse, I think:

 

PG Wodehouse, on a whim.

PG Wodehouse, on a whim.

And I scroll down a bit and find many titles of interest. I give one of ’em a tap, and soon I’m looking at a very credible little mobile book reader:

 

The reader. Basic, but hey, a reader ought to be clean.

The reader. Basic, but hey, a reader ought to be clean.

And the reader isn’t bare-bones. If I zoom to the top I can go to specific pages or search within the text. It doesn’t seem to “bookmark” your place automatically but you can use the browser’s built-in bookmark tool to mark that specific vague section of the book (the “hunk” that Google has just downloaded and is displaying).

Good golly. If Google is evil, then they’re a Doctor Doom sort of evil. What’s a little evil, when the totalitarian dictator takes such wonderful, indulgent care of his subjects?

Huge, hulking, armed Googlebots may suddenly appear on every street corner one morning but I’ll be inclined to think “Well, yes, that’s annoying, I won’t lie. But I do get to keep Google Books for Mobile, right?”

32 replies
  1. Greg Walrath
    Greg Walrath says:

    Sounds good, I’ll have to poke around this on the bus ride home.

    However, the URL, with the trailing “/”, yields a page not found error. Leave off the slash and it works fine.

  2. Joe Ranft
    Joe Ranft says:

    But what happens if you’re offline? Can you still read the book?

    I love the Stanza iPhone app. You can convert just about any file on your PC/MAC to be an iPhone book in Stanza, readable anywhere.

    This is the real Kindle killer. Once publishers sell books in the Stanza DRM format, then I don’t need to carry around a Kindle.

  3. Larry
    Larry says:

    Any idea of an offline component? Perhaps Google Gears or Adobe Air? I would think caching the books locally would be a desire of the average user, especially iPod Touch owners.

  4. da5id
    da5id says:

    Hey Andy, hi all!

    This probably isn’t the best place to be asking questions totally unrelated to the post, but I don’t see where else I can ask, or where to email Andy directly, so here goes…

    Andy, I just bought your book ‘iPhone, Fully Loaded’, and I love it! Great! I never thought I’d need to buy a book on the iPhone as it all seemed pretty self-explanatory, but you’ve done a great job in opening my eyes to the various things I never knew it could do..

    One question – on page 207 you talk about the blurriness of iTunes-optimized photos on the iPhone (which has always annoyed me greatly) and then at the bottom of the page it says “Well, the best solution is to dispense with…” – and then page 208 seems to leave out this solution and skips to some random sentence. Could you please tell me what the missing solution is? Or is it the storing of photos on-line that you talk about beforehand?

    Also, although I’ve downloaded and installed Air Sharing on my iPhone some time ago, I have no broadband here; in fact, I am incapable of getting it in my area. I am stuck with dialup – and yes this is a HUGE annoyance. So, being that the USB cable is the only way for my PC and iPhone to talk to each other, I am still stymied in regard to getting any file I like on the phone, unless I email it to myself.

    Can you tell me what is the cheapest way to get WI-FI for a PC without my having to get a router or something for (my non-existent) broadband. I’ve seen that Apple sells something called Airport Express. Is this what i need? Is there something cheaper? Just something I can use the Air Sharing with.

    Thanks for your reply, and sorry again about posting in such an inappropriate place.

  5. Michael Mays
    Michael Mays says:

    Don’t forget about the Home, Contents and 10 page Scroller buttons on the top of each ‘page’. Makes navigation a little easier. No bookmark is a bumer but I don’t think its possible. I don’t like it highlighting the paragraph you touch when you scroll. What is that little tag thing/ (Touch some text and don’t lift for a few seconds.)

    I’d like to have a auto-scroller. Maybe one which flick to speed up and down.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  15. iWyre says:

    […] 8 months ago) mobile web apps are still worth checking out, too — Andy Ihnatko reports that Google has put their Google Book Search web app in iPhone form, and the result is awesome: 1.5 million public-domain texts in a well-coded and […]

  16. […] 8 months ago) mobile web apps are still worth checking out, too — Andy Ihnatko reports that Google has put their Google Book Search web app in iPhone form, and the result is awesome: 1.5 million public-domain texts in a well-coded and […]

  17. […] Authors, no doubt, may continue to have a problem with Google willfully ignoring copyright for their own content lust, while mobile users jump up and down in glee, like one author and mobile accomplisher, Andy Ihnatko is doing on his Celestial Waste of Bandwidth: […]

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