[Athen] Google Unveils Cellphone Version of Digital-Book Collection

Laurie Vasquez Vasquez at sbcc.edu
Fri Feb 6 12:19:04 PST 2009

February 5, 2009

Google today unveiled what could be the largest collection of digital
books formatted for cellphones. The company took 1.5 million of the
books it has scanned through its partnership with several major college
libraries and prepped them for the small screen of iPhones or phones
using Google*s Android operating system.

The collection only includes books that are in the public domain, so it
highlights classics like Emma and This Side of Paradise.

Developers spent about a year working on the cellphone format, said
Frances Haugen, a product manager for Google, in an interview today. One
key innovation: When users click on any paragraph of the text, they call
up a picture of that paragraph from the original scan of the library
book. That*s important for times when Google*s software goofed in
turning the picture of the text into a digital file. (Such imperfections
are common in any book-scanning effort.)

Ms. Haugen said she reread a favorite book, Wuthering Heights, on her
cellphone and had no problem reading for long periods on the small
screen. It is hard to imagine students doing their English homework
curled up with their cellphones, though. *Jeffrey R. Young

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