Google added the ability to let users find definitions, translate and search words in its Google eBooks digital reading service May 19.
Google boosted it eBooks offering May 19, adding the ability for users to get definitions for words, translate them to
another language and search within a digital book.
is the company's commercial digital book service. The search
the Google eBookstore last December, offering users access to more than 3
million titles, including 2 million free titles. Consumers may read these works
through a Web browser on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Little has been heard from Google about eBooks until
these new improvements, which will enable users to look up words with which
they are unfamiliar, translate them and search for other words without losing
their digital page within the work.
This all happens in Google's Web Reader in the browser so
that users don't have to download books the way they do for the Amazon Kindle
or Apple's iBookstore on the iPad.
Users can double-click or highlight text within the Web
Reader, revealing a pop-up menu that lets users choose to Define, Translate,
Search Book, Search Google and Search Wikipedia.
It's important to note that these features work only in Google's
"Flowing text" mode, not the "Scanned pages" mode. Users may
switch to "Flowing text" in the Web Reader by clicking on the
Settings menu labeled "Aa" and picking it under the "Show"
When a user selects the Define option, the pop-up menu
offers a definition of the word via Google Dictionary.
Users may click on
the audio icon to the left of the word they want define to hear the definition
pronounced aloud. To leave the page, a user may select "More" to go
to the Google Dictionary page for the word.
The Translate option will let users translate a single
word or several sentences of content into dozens of languages, with the
translated text displayed in the pop-up window.
Search Book will bring up all the instances in which the
selected text appears in the book, and take the user there once they click on
However, users may still conduct book searches by
clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Web
Google's new features, which one can argue should have
been available upon the service's roll out late last year, will be welcome for
eBooks users. But it's unclear how many eBooks users there are because Google
has declined to say.
The user statistics are certainly dwarfed by the hugely
popular book services from Amazon and Apple. Amazon
its Kindle e-books are outselling printed works on its Website.
Meanwhile, while Google is improving eBooks it is shuttering development for it Google News Archive
, the service for scanning the world's newspapers online.
Google told the Boston Phoenix
"Users can continue to search digitized newspapers at http://news.google.com/archivesearch
but we don't plan to introduce any further features or functionality to
the Google News Archives and we are no longer accepting new microfilm
or digital files for processing."