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September 26, 2007

New Homepage for Google Book Search

Google Books Search's redesigned homepage invites you to discover books by clicking on a category or the cover of a popular book. "At Book Search, we have a lot of books, but we don't have shelves or sections, which can make casually browsing books in our index difficult," mentions the product's blog. The intimidating search box is placed at the top of the page, leaving space for some examples of books:

* interesting: practical books like "How to be an even better manager", Math books, medical books

* classics: Shakespeare, Walter Scott, Goethe, Francis Bacon, Alexander Pope - all of them are in the public domain and can be downloaded as PDF files

* highly cited in scholar papers: authoritative books like Hegel's "Science of logic", Thomas Hobbes' "Leviathan"

* random subject: books from a randomly-selected topic

Google also lists the main subjects for fiction and non-fiction books and some random subjects. It's interesting that Google Book Search defaults to the cover view when you explore the books from a subject and to the list view when you do a normal search.

For ambiguous queries like [logic], you'll be able to restrict the results to an appropriate subject. You can also use the subject: operator to make your search more precise (for example: war subject:"Science fiction"). Google doesn't offer the complete hierarchy of subjects, so a clever autocomplete would be helpful.


  1. I think sectioning books is a great idea as I remember going to google book search some 3 weeks ago and I couldnt find a good access point, I mean it was all good and powerful if you know what you are looking for, But as a means to spend time and do something productive where you can read randomly, pick, drop etc It wasnt giving you much.
    By the way books shown on front page are all full view eh ?

  2. Only the "classic" books are available in full-view because they're in the public domain. For the others, you can see a limited preview (a limited number of pages from the book).