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Google offers 1.5 million public domain books for your mobile phone

Google Book Search MobileGoogle has been scanning books for the last couple of years for the company's Book Search portal. Well over a million of those books are in the public domain, which means that Google can legally make the full text available online without running into any copyright issues. And this week the company upped the game by creating a mobile portal which basically means you can read any of those books on your computer or mobile phone.

The new Book Search mobile portal is optimized for touchscreen devices like the iPhone or Google Android devices. But you can use it to find and read books on any internet connected device. I grabbed this screenshot using a desktop web browser.

1.5 million books are available to US readers, and over half a million of those books are available internationally. Many of the books are classics that were written long ago and which are no longer covered by copyright. But there are also some newer texts that have entered the public domain for one reason or another.

As Google points out, some of the books may contain errors, since the optical character recognition technology used to convert the scanned images to text is far from perfect. And Google added a neat trick that lets you see the original scanned image when you select any chunk of text.

Have you found anything interesting or surprising in the book list? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: google-book-search, mobile, public-domain