Google has launched a new version of its Book Search especially for mobile devices. The mobile service could act as a good competitor to products such as Amazon's Kindle and the Sony Reader, providing free access to books on your existing mobile device for when you're out and about. The only costs involved are for data transfer, which on most compatible mobile phones is included in your payment plan or is available through a WiFi connection.
1.5 millions books have been made available to users of the service in the US, with 500,000 titles available elsewhere around the world. All the books are in the public domain due to permission from the publisher or because they are now out of copyright.
The selection of books available includes many classics from authors such as Dickens and Kingsley, accessed through an interface designed for the iPhone and Android devices. The books included have apparently been optimised for small screen viewing, using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to extract the text from the scanned images usually used for the full online version of Google Book Search. According to the team's blog "if you do bump into some rough patches where the text seems, well, weird, well, you can just tap on the text to see the original page image for that section of text."