Google Publishes an eBook

The nature of the Internet doesn't exactly make for an exciting bedtime story, but that's how Google is presenting "20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web."

Google's Chrome team wrote the e-book in HTML5, presented as interactive pages that you can fold and flip by clicking and dragging the mouse. The book is fun to read, at least for a little while, and educational if you're not a know-it-all. It advocates for updating to a modern Web browser (i.e., not IE6) and argues that plug-ins are relics (unless they're integrated into the browser itself, as Chrome does with Adobe Flash).

But above all, it got me wondering, what's up with Google Editions, the cloud e-book service that was supposed to launch over the summer?

I'm not the first one to ponder this. In September, CNet's Greg Sandoval wrote an article entitled, "Hey, what happened to Google Editions?" Google's response, from spokeswoman Jeannie Hornung: "The real answer is, we'll launch the service when it's ready ... We definitely have plans to launch later this year."

Time's running out on that plan. Sandoval noted that Google could miss the holiday season and fall behind in a race against Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. That seems like a given now.

But who knows? Maybe "20 Things" is a hint that Google's e-book plans are coming together. The interface was nice, and I enjoyed curling each page as I read. It didn't work nearly as well on an iPad though, with no animations and just buttons instead of gesture controls. Maybe this isn't a glimpse of Google Editions, but it's something.

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