Sun, Jan 28, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Google combines online books with map software


Internet search giant Google said on Friday that it had begun combining online books with its mapping software to guide readers to places described in print.

Google Books has started to "animate the static information" in written works by linking location references to its interactive Google Maps software.

Clicking on words pinpointing certain places in books will connect readers to maps of the spots, according to Google engineer David Petrou.

"Why not visualize places mentioned in books on a map?" Petrou asked in a blog on the company's Web site.

"Now you can. Fact, fiction, old and new, we seek to present maps when helpful across all kinds of books."

Titles already augmented with interactive maps include Around the World in Eighty Days, War and Peace, The Travels of Marco Polo and The 9/11 Commission Report, Google said.

"We hope this feature helps you plan your next trip, research an area for academic purposes or visualize the haunts of your favorite fictional characters," Petrou wrote. "Above all, have fun."

The Google Book Search project has caused controversy worldwide since it was initiated in 2004 with the aim of scanning every literary work into digital format and making them all available online.

The Mountain View, California company has stored classic works in the public domain on its searchable database, along with some copyrighted books.

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