Google has purchased eBook Technologies to ensure its own eBookstore titles are accessible via any mobile device.
The buy was first reported by TechCrunch. Google confirmed the deal in an e-mail to eWEEK:
"We are happy to welcome eBook Technologies' team to Google," a Google spokesperson said. "Together, we hope to deliver richer reading experiences on tablets, electronic readers and other portable devices."
Google Dec. 6 launched its online bookstore eBookstore, offering 3 million free and paid titles. While rival Amazon offers readers a dedicated electronic reader device in the Kindle, Google adopted a device-agnostic approach.
The search engine allows users to consume titles via a Web reader application, and via applications for Android smartphones and tablets and Apple iOS devices, such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Google, which has done little to market eBooks outside some press briefings ahead of the launch, declined to provide an update on how its service is faring.
Still, it's clear the company wants to improve its delivery of book titles on all computing devices, which was the impetus behind acquiring eBook Technologies.
eBook has a complete electronic book service, including electronic reading devices with their associated user interface technology, an "Online Bookshelf," a Web-based content sales and delivery system, and eBook content conversion and publication tools.
Key among these tools is the ability to purchase or access content "anywhere and at any time."
Given that context, it seems Google could use any and all of eBook's hardware and software to bolster its eBooks offering. Perhaps Google feels its eBooks service is rough around the edges as it seeks to challege Amazon and Apple in the lucrative eBook market.
eBook Technologies provides few clues itself how it's technology will be used, echoing Google's statement in a brief note on its Website.
"eBook Technologies, Inc. is excited to announce that we have been acquired by Google. Working together with Google will further our commitment to providing a first-class reading experience on emerging tablets, e-readers and other portable devices."
It's unclear when Google purchased eBook Technologies, though it could have been acquired late last year.
If not, the pick-up marks Google's first purchase of 2011 and indicates the company is picking up right where it left off after snapping up more than 40 companies in 2010.