After having been expected for several months, the service is available for the moment only in the US.
“We believe it will be the world’s largest e-books library,” said Google spokeswoman Jeannie Hornung. “Including the free books, there are more than three million.”
Thanks to their Google Account, users can access their books from a computer or a mobile phone. Google has signed partnerships with 4,000 publishers, and claimed that its prices are “competitive” with the rest of the industry.
Tom Turvey, director of strategic partnerships at Google, said: “Publishers want more competition in the marketplace, and we already have a big investment. We’re trying to extend the value of content that exists in the world by enabling people to find it and buy it.”
Amazon was quick to react to this new competition. The company, whose original business was that of an online bookseller of physical books, will soon announce new features designed to counter Google, according to Computerworld. Features allow “users to read entire books into their Web browser and enable any website to become a bookseller offering Kindle books,” said a spokesman for Amazon.
The global launch of Google’s portal should be done during 2011.