Monday, December 27, 2010

Google Books for Android

3 out of 5


Plain vanilla eBook reader that taps into Google’s initial book offerings inside its virtual bookstore service.

Books are priced higher than competitors. Only runs on devices powered by Android 2.1 or newer. Some users reporting issues reading their titles across multiple platforms.

Buy a book via your Android phone, then read it on any device that supports the Google Books application.

Barnes & Noble Nook
Amazon Kindle

In early December, Google took the wrappings off its eBook store and posted ereader software for several platforms.

All in all, Google Books is a plain-jane eBook reader app for Android devices, making it relatively painless to browse, purchase, and read titles offered through the Google service across multiple platforms, without the need to purchase a specific ereader device.

Google Books cleanly organizes your books for easy access, and makes browsing a breeze. When you’re ready to make a purchase, you’ll need to use Google Checkout to complete your purchase.

Your title is immediately downloaded from the cloud to your device, and unlocks the content so it can be synced to any device you have which can run Google’s eReader software. Best of all, you can move from device to device to read your books, and know that your last read page is bookmarked in the cloud. (Go to your PC to continue reading and you’ll start right where you left off on your phone.)

Interestingly, you can switch from standard reading mode to view the originally scanned images of each page. If you’re really seeking that level of detail, it’s available to you. (And it’s one visible byproduct of the company delving into its own in-house digitization efforts.)

But all is not perfect in this first release. Prices for several titles were noticeable higher in Google’s store vs. Amazon’s and Barnes & Noble, adding $2-$4 to the cost of some popular titles. You also can’t add multiple bookmarks to your eBooks, and no in-book searching is currently available. Look for future updates to clean up these items in the near future.

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.

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