Google adds several new usability features to its maligned Google Books service, which aims to store the world's books on the Internet to make them easily searchable. The Google Books service now lets users embed a preview of a public-domain or partner book in any Website or blog with a single line of HTML code. Meanwhile, Yahoo upgrades its SearchMonkey search engine service to let Website owners display enhanced results for product pages, local information, events, news and discussions.
June 18 improved its Google Books
service to make the virtual book service more
like the way users consume paper books. Yahoo meanwhile improved its
SearchMonkey service with new enhanced results and added Google Base formatting
for structured data feeds.
The Google Books upgrade comes amid a formal inquiry into the book program by the U.S. Justice
which has been courting catcalls about the $125 million
settlement Google signed with publishers and agencies in fall 2008.
In that deal, Google houses digital versions of the world's books on the Web
and generates money by licensing the works to users and libraries. Opponents
claim Google is in danger of violating antitrust laws for trying to corral the
world's books online. Google denies the accusations and has offered to amend
Despite the inquiry, innovation on Google Books continues. Brandon Badger, Google Books product manager, wrote:
might want to flip through the pages to find an image. You might want to open
right up to the table of contents so you can find your favorite chapter. And
you might want to pass it along to a friend so they can have a look at it, too."
Taking a page out of Google's playbook for sharing YouTube videos, the
Google Books service now lets users embed a preview of a full view or partner
book in any Website or blog with a single line of HTML code.
Users can also share pages from publications in Google Books by grabbing a
URL link and e-mailing it to friends. Google Book Search also boasts better
search for public-domain books, which are not protected by copyrights, and
partner books, those tomes for which Google has partnered with publishers.
The new tools let users see where a search term appears within the book by
showing them more context around the term and an image from the part of the
page on which it appears. Users can click on those images to navigate directly
to the pages inside the book and sort search results by relevance in addition
to page order in the publication.
A new thumbnail view provides an overview of all the pages in a public
domain book or in a magazine, while a contents drop-down menu enables users to
jump to chapters within the book or articles within a magazine.
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 location in the
has more posts on the Google Books upgrades here.
Also on June 18, Yahoo announced improved Yahoo Search, letting Website owners display enhanced Yahoo Search results
pages, local information, events, news and discussions.
As an example, Yahoo
said a retail Website could add a few lines of code so
that its product pages display as an enhanced result that includes the rating,
price, reviews and product photo directly on the search results page.
Enhanced results for these new data types will appear in Yahoo Search
results a few weeks after site owners add the markup, and after Yahoo crawls
their pages for the necessary structured data. There is no sign-up process; Yahoo
invites site owners to begin adding the markup to their sites now.
The rollout follows Yahoo's March features, which let users embed video, games and documents in Yahoo Search results.
In other Yahoo Search news, the company said site owners who have Google
Base feeds can now automatically have their enhanced results displayed in Yahoo
Search by submitting their existing feeds through Yahoo Site Explorer.
However it happens, Yahoo needs to continue to build out structured data for SearchMonkey,
which it hopes will help the company foster a more open search environment as
an alternative to Google and Microsoft. The company is closing projects left
and right and is trying to recover from a disastrous takeover attempt by
Microsoft, while Microsoft's Bing search is getting traction.