I beginning to think that Google will soon take over the world! Okay, I'm kidding, but they are certainly starting to dominate the internet. One of their latest and greatest additions to the Google family is Google Books. This site is simply amazing! The first thing you notice when you come to the home page is rows and rows of book and magazine covers. I am immediately drawn in and can hardly decide what to click on! This site has so many features that I hardly know where to begin and I am so excited about where Google Books is taking the book review community. Here are the stand-out features that I felt were noteworthy:

1.) User reviews with starred ratings. Google has an extensive library of books that come with some very useful reviews. Who doesn't want to know what others thought of the book before reading it? I know I base a lot of my purchases on user reviews and find this to be a vital part of choosing reading material.

2.)You can personalize your account with bookshelves of books that you have already read and books that you want to read. You can share your bookshelves with your friends and see what they're reading too so that you have a trusted review from someone you know and you can read along in the same book together and discuss your thoughts on it.

3.) Book Previews. I LOVE this feature! Google contains scanned in pages from most of their books so that you can get an idea of the writing style and read the reviews on the backs of the books.

4.) You can also search the text of each book for a certain word. I'm not 100% sure why you'd need to do this but I sure thought it was pretty cool. I picked a book and searched the word, "love" and up popped all of the instances in the book where this word appeared - I love it!

5.) Related book recommendations. When you find a book you love, you can see related books to try that you might like. I love this feature as a way to find new authors to read. I find an author I love and when I look up one of their books, I can find similar books to try.

6.) Links where you can find the book. Just click on the book you want and it will take you to that book's page. On the right-hand side is a box that contains links to websites where you can purchase this book so that you don't have to go to several sites searching for a particular book. If you think that's cool, there is also a link titled, "Find in a library!" Click this link and you will be taken to a list where you put in your town's Zip code and up pops a list of local libraries where you can get this book!!!!!! This is probably the coolest feature I've ever seen! I don't know how many times I've been on the internet an found a list of 10-15 books I want to read, so I head to the library with my list only to find out that none of them are there and I've wasted a trip. You can also link directly to your library's website where you can search their catalog and get the catalog number and check the availability of that specific book. This feature alone makes me want to vote Google the coolest search engine of the year!

7.) There are also some neat features soon-to-come. One of these is that when you search any term on Google, (ex. Cheddar French fries), the index of all of their books will be searched also and the link will take you to the relevant page in that book.

I think there is some really great tools on this website, many more than I've written about here because I could go on for several pages, but I will spare you! So go check out this website and get inspired to read!