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15 years of Google Books

October 17th, 2019

Books are the windows to new worlds. Through them, I’ve explored the wintery lands of Narnia and cast a spell at Hogwarts. I’ve danced with the Bennet sisters and attended the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. I’ve delved into coding languages and learned about the Egyptian pyramids. Each world I’ve discovered has shown me the importance of preserving and protecting these stories for the future.

Fifteen years ago, Google Books set out on an audacious journey to bring the world’s books online so that anyone can access them. Libraries and publishers around the world helped us chase this goal, and together we’ve created a universal collection where people can discover more than 40 million books in over 400 languages. But, there’s still more we can do to make Google Books more useful for people.

Today we’re unveiling a new design for Google Books on desktop and helpful features for anyone looking to read, research or simply hunt for literary treasures. We’ve redesigned Google Books so people can now quickly access details like the book’s description, author’s history and other works, reader reviews and options for where you can purchase or borrow the book. And for those using Google Books for research, each book’s bibliographies are located prominently on the page and the citation tool allows you to cite the source in your preferred format, all in one spot.

Google Books Redesign

Have you ever heard a phrase or quote and wondered what the original context was? With Google Books, you can search for key phrases or excerpts within books, and we’ll show you where it’s from, down to the page number and paragraph. Take “tesseract”, for example. Simply search the word with the “Search Inside” feature and Google Books will show you where it appears in Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Search Inside Feature

Explore the stories behind rare books

For more literary exploration, Google Arts & Culture is recognizing iconic and rare books in an online project that features several works from Google Books’ collection. People can learn about the history of books and dive into unique stories, like four books that made a mark as the first of their kind.

There’s also an interactive experiment that gives people a fun way to browse the Google Books collection using artwork from Google Arts & Culture. Tap on an image and get recommendations for books written on related themes.

Google Arts and Culture

Over the last 15 years, Google Books has preserved the books that help people with academic and professional achievements, as well as personal discoveries. For me, Google Books is a place where I know I can go to discover new worlds I’ve yet to see. Turn the page to see what you’ll discover next.