Google Launches E-book Store, Mobile and Web-based Apps

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Google is now officially competing with the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple when it comes to selling electronic books.

Half-announced last week as “Google Editions,” the book store is now simply called “Google eBookstore.” See, they took “book store” and made it one word, then added a lowercase “e” to the front of it like you’re supposed to do with any technology-related product.

The promise of Google’s eBookstore is simple: You buy books from Google instead of from competing services like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple and you have access to those books from just about any device—including other electronic book readers such as the Nook and Sony’s e-readers.

The reality isn’t quite as simple. For starters, getting books onto certain e-book readers is a cumbersome, manual process involving downloading the book to your computer, running it through Adobe’s digital rights management (DRM) software first, and then transferring it to your reader.

Thankfully, Google has already made dedicated software apps for Android and Apple devices that allow for seamless retrieval of your books from Google’s servers. There’s also a web-based electronic reader that works with just about any browser that supports Javascript—so most handhelds, smartphones and tablets should be okay.

The one device that’s missing Google compatibility altogether is Amazon’s Kindle. The Kindle uses a proprietary e-book standard and can’t read the Adobe format that Google uses. Google says, “we are open to supporting them in the future,” which sounds like it’s placing the ball in Amazon’s court.

Google’s late entry into digital book sales means it might have problems convincing people—especially those who already own e-book readers—to switch to buying books from Google. The open, available-anywhere nature of the service makes it somewhat appealing, though.

What’s more interesting, in my mind, is to look at how the framework for Google’s online book store might be duplicated for Google’s rumored music service that’s supposed to come alive one of these days.

With the book store, you buy a book and it’s available “from the cloud” using just about any device you’re able to connect to your Google account. Take the same basic idea and swap out books for music files. That’s how Google Music is supposed to work.

More on Techland:

Google Prepping “Editions” Electronic Book Store

New Google Phone Has Curved Screen, Latest Android Version

Google’s Rumored Music Store and Why It Just Might Work