So here we are again back to eBooks, always with the eBooks. One of the fastest growing aspects of the consumer tech industry has received backing from Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony and so many more it would literally hurt to list them all, just check your nearest health and safety at work handbook for a comprehensive list of exactly why.
Anyway, what we have for you today is what some would consider a breath of fresh air in an increasingly polluted market, and others would consider just another tedious eBook service. It’s by Google, and it used to be called Google Editions, but apparently that wasn’t plain enough, so let’s give a warm welcome to Google eBooks.
So, what’s so special about Google eBooks? Well, whilst the eBook market seems one of the hardest in which to differentiate your product, Google seems to have taken a slightly different stance to it’s competitors when it comes to setting it’s own standard for an eBook platform. Let’s take the Apple iPad, for example, or more specifically, iBooks. Great as it is, as with most things Apple, it’s fairly closed and restricted. You can read on an iPad, an iPhone or an iPod Touch and I think you can spot the obvious trend.
Google has decided of course that this is the wrong path to take with eBooks and in a similar way to Android I suppose, has made it all quite open. With Google eBooks you can read on pretty much any web-connected device, iDevices included. Add to that list the B&N Nook if you’re living in the States and can get one of the impressive looking eReaders, Sony Readers, your computer and pretty much any Android device, which of course includes the latest and greatest such as the HTC Desire HD or more importantly perhaps, the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
This is all made possible thanks to the synchronisation system Google has implemented, allowing you to automatically update your book library, which is conveniently and securely stored in ‘the cloud’. It syncs on the fly, so whenever you open your book it’s right there with you on all of your devices. Google has also created its own eBooks store, which itself is home to the vast collection of public domain books, which sings to the tune of around 3 million. A good start, no?
Open-ness aside, this does sound a whole lot like the Kindle service in that it updates on the fly and there are apps for Android, desktop and iOS as well as obviously on the Amazon Kindle 3 hardware itself. That may be so, but currently Google hasn’t elaborated any plans to build its own reading-specific hardware, which is interesting in itself considering the new eBook platform is available on so many devices.
It must have been an interesting debate when developing the product whether to push it onto platforms such as iOS, considering how much of a selling point this could be for the wealth of Android tablets which will no doubt continue sweeping in throughout next year, especially with the next updates coming relatively soon.
So, Google has opted for substance and an open platform over style, quite the opposite of Apple, but is that a wise move? Only time will tell I suppose and without any special eye-candy in Google eBooks, I can’t see it appealing quite as much as Apple iBooks to those who own only an iPad. I see this as more a platform for the extraordinarily mobile person who may find themselves with a different device every hour that goes by.
It represents relatively few in my eyes and without pushing it specifically for the, justifiably or not, popular Android tablets and without building specific hardware, it will be a tough sell as far as I can see when entering such a populated market. Perhaps they will rise to stardom, I have no doubt that it will be in the very least a minor success, but they’re already playing catch up to Amazon and Apple in my eyes.
Do you think that the Amazon Kindle and iBooks can be beaten at this point? Will Google eBooks combined with the sheer number of Android devices out there mean that there’s a good chance? Let us know what you think in the comments below!