Google Inc. is testing a book search service in China that allows users to search and read the full text of books.
The trial Web site, which went live on March 2, is the latest addition to Google's Chinese search engine, Google.cn. As part of ongoing efforts to attract more Chinese Internet users to Google.cn, which limits search results to satisfy Chinese government censors, the company has been adding more features to the site.
A posting on Google's Chinese blog said the company has so far scanned 1 million [B] books from around the world into its index, but relatively few Chinese books are available. "In China, this mission has just started, we still have a long way to go," the blog said.
In addition to allowing users to search the text of indexed books, the book-search service provides links to online book sellers that sell the book. Users can also use Google's revamped and recently relaunched Chinese map service to find the address and location of nearby bookstores, the blog said.
In the future, the search engine may also be able to tell users if a bookstore has a particular book in stock, it said.
Google has been working on the Chinese book search service since the middle of last year. At that time, Chinese media reported the company had struck deals with four publishers to scan their books for the search engine.