Google Book Search

Google finally gives Amazon Kindle a run for its money with the launch of Google Book Search. Book Search allows you to access 1.5 Million books from your iPhone or Adroid phone -- from Shakespeare to Frost, Dickens to Austen -- for free.

Book Search made sure that all e-books have been optimized to be read in small screens. Quoting Google:

There's an interesting backstory about the work involved to prepare so many books for mobile devices. If you use Google Book Search, you'll notice that our previews are composed of page images made by digitizing physical copies of books. These page images work well when viewed from a computer, but prove unwieldy when viewed on a phone's small screen.

Our solution to make these books accessible is to extract the text from the page images so it can flow on your mobile browser just like any other web page. This extraction process is known as Optical Character Recognition (or OCR for short). The following example demonstrates the difference between page images and the extracted text


The extraction of text from page images is a difficult engineering task. Smudges on the physical books' pages, fancy fonts, old fonts, torn pages, etc. can all lead to errors in the extracted text. The example below shows the page image from the original manuscript for Alice's Adventures Under Ground. In this extreme case, the extracted text is riddled with errors:

Credit - Google

[which the system translated to:]

"!" .ÍAoHyU- AUte. U brstty/affc. a. f as ~tk¿* , I s&O.IL .éfiiíjz tiotkun-) of-ttmlr1¿*y ¿i^n. sta¿rs ! Jfo» ..."

Amazon achieved tremendous success last year with Kindle, selling 500,000 units of the reading device.

For Reviews of Netbooks out in the Philippine Market Today (and some, yet to be) visit TechPinas' Netbook Mania - Netbooks Philippines.

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