Google has been a big name on the electronic book circuit. Of course, for a long time that’s because they were so heavily involved in scanning content for Google Books, making public domain content available free of charge. They also put some effort, even in those early phases, toward providing book previews of commercial projects. Six months ago Google launched their eBook store, which integrates your eBook purchases with your Google account, allowing you to view your content on numerous eBook readers, smartphones, tablets, and any computer where you can log into your account. Google is now adding a set of features for those who use their computer to read books.
Three primary features have been added: define, translate, and search. Here’s a brief description of each.:
- Define. Don’t know what a word means? Well, when the word “convoluted” comes up in your text, you can just highlight it and choose “define” to learn that the phrase means “Extremely complex and difficult to follow” through a simple Google on-page popup.
- Translate. If you want to read foreign books or if you come across a foreign phrase in a book you’re reading (or an entire chapter in Latin, like in A Canticle for Leibowitz), you can now easily translate the content using the Google Translate tool by highlighting the text in question and selecting the “Translate” option. There are dozens of languages you can translate from, or you can have Google scan the text to see what language it thinks it is.
- Search. You can highlight any phrase and do a search for that phrase within the eBook you’re reading, via Google, or via Wikipedia. That means when Neil Fiore mentions Abraham Maslow in The Now Habit (my favorite book to read when I’m procrastinating), you can do a quick search to find more data.
These features are available as of immediately for anyone reading a Google eBook on their computer. For the time being, define, translate, and search are not a part of the iOS or Android versions of eBooks.
[via the Official Google Blog]