From the Official Google Blog:
You really do have to hand it to them, they have vastly improved the readability of the online books, even offering a double page spread and a new non-reloading view which looks much better than their previous efforts. Overall the functionality at the reading stage is better and smoother and feel like the service should have to begin with!
I suspect that this is an important move for those more mobile in their reading than I however. The whole interface appears ready made for an internet enabled mobile electronic reading device. Now that is on my part total speculation but go look at this example and see what I mean.
Basically it is as if Google have reworked this product and released a version that works like we expected it would work when we h=first heard the concept. It equals anything out there right now for viewing e-books, even the flashy new Adobe Digital Editions I mentioned previously.
It seems to me that the recent news that the company was focussing on features instead of products (read this LA Times piece for more on that) seems to be great news for some of their heretofore rather ignored tools. For all the controversy that Book Search has generatedit has never been the most reader friendly.
Of course it might also have something to do with this.
But who am I to suggest that Google fears the oncoming competition?
Launches are fun (but work)!!