Google has rolled out a new feature to its Search platform that lets you find e-books that are available to borrow from any local library. The search giant announced via its official Twitter account that the latest feature is now available to all Google users in the United States, though it remains unclear whether or not the same functionality will be released to other territories and when.
With the latest update to Search, you will now see a new option under the “Get Book” tab that displays local libraries nearby after you type a book title in the Search box, provided that the book is available at those libraries. Under the section called “Libraries near you”, there is a list of local libraries where you can request to borrow the book that you are looking for. As a given example, if you search for the title Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, you will get suggestions from Google Search that provide an option for you to borrow the book from the Northern California Digital Library, provided you live near its location. That is in addition to a recommendation that displays a selection of online stores such as Barnes & Noble or Google Play Books where you can buy the e-book in question. It remains to be seen, however, how the new feature could help boost the number of individuals who would opt to make use of the electronic content offered by local libraries, which have been struggling to remain in operation through the years as tech giants like Google and Amazon continue to take a big chunk of the e-books market.
Google’s latest move to promote local libraries in its ecosystem comes despite the Mountain View, California-based company’s initiatives in recent years to transform the way readers consume e-books in favor of its own service. Most recently, Google started offering a $5 discount to users who purchase a book from the Google Play for the first time. The offer is part of a long-running effort to promote Google Play Books to Android users who constantly seek new adventures in the form of reading. Earlier last year, the company also launched a digital library called Editions at Play, which contains experimental books that are available only in mobile devices with an internet connection.