In what looks like a swipe at Amazon and Apple, Google have launched an eBookstore. In reality, Google is doing what it currently does better than web search - pushing web standards and increasing use of the internet - as anything Google does to increase use of the internet, pretty much increases their bottom line too.
The new books service is designed to be more open and their mantra is 'books, unbound'. Rather than carrying a book around with you all day, with the eBooks service, books can be stored in the cloud, rather than your satchel - and accessible via an array of web enabled devices. A brand new webreader has abeen created so that every laptop is supported. Android and iOS will also be supported with free apps. It's worth noting that the Amazon Kindle does not currently support purchased Google eBooks, but it does support free ones. The Sony Nook, sold by Barnes & Noble does support Google eBooks. The video below provides a simple explanation of the service:
Whilst, it remains to be seen whether Google is truly invested in going after Amazon or Apple, the rhetoric in their own blog post emphasizes boutique book stores rather than the current leader in ebook sales, Amazon.
"You can choose where to buy your ebooks like you choose where to buy your print books, and keep them all on the same bookshelf regardless of where you got them."
In an interview with the New York Times, Tom Turvey, the director of strategic partnerships at Google, said, "We really think it's important that the book business have this open diversity of retail points, just like it does in print... We want to make sure we maintain that and support that."
Google seems to be hinting that there is a problem of consumer choice in the search for eBook vendors - yet Amazon is one of their biggest advertisers. So is 'books unbound' a code name for a policy of divide and conquer? That's up for debate but the conflict of interest is another reason to push a separate search channel that monetises a separate category of devices and internet usage, rather than change how search works.