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Monday, December 06, 2010, 09:30 am PT (12:30 pm ET)

Google announces eBookstore for Apple's iOS, alongside Android

Google on Monday announced its entrance into the e-book market — and competition with Apple's iBooks — with the search giant's "Google ebookstore," for iOS and Android devices.

Though it is not yet available on the App Store, Google eBooks for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch will allow customers to read and sync more than 3 million e-books on the go. The application will also offer access to the company's Mobile eBookstore.

"We designed Google eBooks to be open," said Abraham Murray, product manager for Google Books. "Many devices are compatible with Google eBooks — everything from laptops to netbooks to tablets to smartphones to e-readers.

"With the new Google eBooks Web Reader, you can buy, store and read Google eBooks in the cloud. That means you can access your ebooks like you would messages in Gmail or photos in Picasa—using a free, password-protected Google account with unlimited ebooks storage."

Titles can be purchased from the Google eBookstore, or from independent bookseller partners, including Powell's, Alibris, and participating members of the American Booksellers Association. The company has distinguished its e-book service by saying it's "all about choice."

"Launching Google eBooks is an initial step toward giving you greater access to vast variety of information and entertainment found in books," Murray said. "Our journey has just begun."



Google's announcement is not a surprise, as less than a week ago a report from The Wall Street Journal said that the digital bookstore was on track to launch by the end of 2010. The product was previously known as Google Editions.

Like Apple's iBooks and the Amazon Kindle, Google's service allows users to wirelessly sync their titles across a number of devices. Because the service remembers where a reader left off in a book, they can begin reading again from the same spot on a separate device.

Apple's iBooks application, and accompanying iBookstore, debuted with the launch of the iPad in April. In June, it was revealed that Apple had already taken 22 percent of the e-book market.

Last week, a new survey found that the Amazon Kindle was "rapidly" losing e-reader market share to Apple's iPad. The Kindle still has the market share lead, however, with 47 percent of polled consumers owning Amazon's e-ink reader, while 32 percent said they had Apple's multi-touch iPad.