At the annual BookExpo convention in New York City over the weekend, Google said it plans to introduce a program that would enable writers and publishers to sell digital versions of their books directly to consumers through Google. The move would pit Google against Amazon.com, which is seeking to control the e-book market with the versions it sells for its Kindle reading device.
The announcement is sure to be applauded by publishers who have long had problems with Amazon’s low-priced strategy for e-books. Kindle editions of most new best sellers go for $9.99, a lot less than the $25 to $35 at which publishers sell new hardcovers in bookstores. Google has said it will allow publishers to set their own prices. (more…)
At Google’s I/O conference this week the company unveiled a new set of widgets called Web Elements that allow users to quickly integrate Google’s most popular products such as Maps, Calendar and Search, and into their sites with a minimal amount of work. Other widgets include ‘Presentations’, which allow users to embed presentations from Google Docs into a site, and ‘Spreadsheets’, which allow you to do the same with Google Docs spreadsheets.
Much of this functionality has been available through Google APIs, but most people don’t know how to use them. With Google Web Elements publishers can just copy and paste the code into their websites. One widget called the ‘Conversation’ Element, allows site visitors to post comments and videos. Site owners have the option of restricting these conversations to their sites, or to share them as global conversations through Google Friend Connect. (more…)