7 New Ways to Enjoy Books on Google

    June 18, 2009
    Chris Crum

Google introduced seven new features to Google Books today. The features add ways to share and browse the content users find in Google’s collection. They include:

1. Embed and links
2. Better search within each book
3. Thumbnail view
4. Contents drop-down menu
5. Plain text mode
6. Page turn button and animation
7. Improved book overview page

Google Books Features

There is a new toolbar option that lets you embed a preview of a full view or partner book on any site or blog, just as if you were embedding a YouTube video. "Programmers comfortable with API tools could accomplish this via our Embedded Viewer API, but this new solution is much easier for everyone to use," says Google Books Product Manager Brandon Badger. "You can also choose to grab a URL link to email or IM to friends that takes them to the same book and page on Google Books."


For public domain and partner books, users can now search and see exactly where their search term appears within a book, because Google now shows more context around the term, including an image from the part of the page it’s on. Users can click the images to navigate to the pages in the book, and sort search results by relevance as well as page order in the book. There are "previous" and "next" buttons in the search results bar for browsing through them.

Search in Books

The thumbnail view feature is handy for looking at all of the pages at a glimpse. You can simply click on a thumbnail image and go straight to the page. It’s only available for full view books of course.


Above an individual book, there is now a “contents” drop-down menu that lets you quickly go to any chapter in the book or article in a magazine:

Plain text mode is just what it sounds like. The advantage is that it is useful for visually impaired users who use text-to-speech programs.

Users can click the page turn button at the bottom of the screen and an animated line moves with the page turn to make it easier to keep track of our location in the text.

Animated line

Finally, the improved book overview page now includes reviews ratings, summaries, related books, key words and phrases, references from the web, places mentioned in the book, publisher information, and more.