Media

Google introduces “Infinite Digital Bookcase,” acts as virtual librarian

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Google introduced the newest form of bookcase to your browsers today — what it calls an “Infinite Digital Bookcase,” and damn does it look cool.

The company announced the bookcase in an official blog post.

With tablets and eReaders offering a number of new ways to experience books, the browser has been relatively ignored. However, not a lot of people consider getting into a bubble bath with their nice glass of wine and a laptop book to wind down the day, but you never know. To that end, the virtual bookcase may not be a competitor to the Kindle, but rather to the book discovery service overall. It could also simply be a way to funnel people toward purchasing Google Books, but it’s still pretty cool.

Google created the bookcase to act as an infinite loop of reading options. You can use your mouse to scroll through shelves of over 10,000 books available on Google Books that coil like Trajan’s Column. The column spins left, right, up and down. It uses WebGL, or a web-based graphics library, which interacts with Javascript programming language to allow for interactivity. WebGL can be found on most updated browsers.

Books on these shelves are separated into 28 different categories, bestsellers, and free books, which when clicked on, act as a virtual librarian taking you to the right section of the bookcase. It almost feels like something out of Harry Potter, being magically taken to your section on the column that seemingly goes on forever. The interactive bookcase also uses the Google Books API (application programming interface) to show title, author and a short synopsis of specified books.

Choosing a book is also visually tasty. Once you click on a book, it bounces similarly to how an icon bounces on an Apple Mac application dock. After loading, a 3D version of the book pops off the shelf and opens to show you the above content. In order to read the book you have the option to purchase it from Google Books or take a picture of the QR code with your mobile device to read it on the go.

The bookcase is available now to interested readers with an updated browser, but is still a little buggy given it is in experiment mode. Check it out here.