Today, Brandon Badger, Product Manager, Google Books, announced on the Inside Google Book Search Blog, seven, that’s right seven, new features and tools for Google Book Search users. Here’s a quick look at what has just gone live.
First, Google has made it easier, just click and copy, to embed “preview” material onto a web page. Just click, highlight the desired text, grab the URL, and paste it where you see fit. This feature is available with full view and partner books. It’s very similar to what you can do with YouTube content. Users can also easily copy and paste the URL into an email or IM and share the content with others. This is going to be a big winner for educators and students who want to share specific passages with faculty and classmates.
The second new feature introduces improved searching. Public domain and partner titles now have more context surrounding search terms on a results page. Results also include a small image of the actual page to show precisely where the search terms fall. Results can be sorted relevance or “page order.” You’ll also now find “previous” and “next” buttons at the top of a results page toolbar that let you easily navigate through a set of results.
If you loved how you were able to see multiple pages of a catalog years ago with Google Catalogs the new thumbnail view feature will look familiar. It allows you to view multiple pages or facing pages at the same time. The buttons to view multiple pages are located on the toolbar at the top of the page. Thumbnail view is only available for full view titles.
Next on the list is the new, content drop-down menu that makes it easier to move around inside a book quickly. The drop-down offers the ability to quickly access a chapter of a book or an article in a magazine. You’ll find the drop-down menu at the top of a results page. It’s labeled “contents.”
The fifth new feature is a new “plain text” button that is found on the right side of book pages for public domain titles. Google points out that the plain text view is especially useful for visually impaired users who use text-to-speech software.
Next is what Google is calling, the, “page turn button and animation.” Now, you can click the button located at the bottom left and right of a page to move to easily move the next or previous page of the book or magazine. Of course, you can still scroll from page to page.
Finally, you’ll find what Google calls an “improved” book overview page. You’ll find info about the title and related titles, links to reviews, subject headings, key words and phrases, references to the book from other books and much more. Some of these features are similar to what Amazon’s Search Inside has offered for some time.
Overall, these new features are very useful and appreciated since moving around such a large and growing corpus of data can be a massive challenge. For more coverage on this news, see Techmeme.