With the rumored Chrome OS announcement potentially happening tomorrow, Google added more oomph to their week by also launching their ebookstore, The New York Times and others are reporting. The centerpiece of the launch is reading digital books via cloud software, and even though the site is still a little hidden right now (not even linked on the main Google page), the launch appears to have gone smoothly.
The e-bookstore's potential to compete with the Amazon.com and iTunes e-book hubs is obvious, but one thing this has that those don't is the syncing ability via the cloud software. I easily installed the Google Books app on my Android phone, and flipped through a few pages on one of the free demo books, and then it took me right to where I left off when I pulled it up on my computer. The compatibility of Google-sold e-books with the Kindle is non-existent right now, but just about everyone else has agreed to support the software in some regard.
It's pretty simple to use, and not a lot of clicking involved, but it'll be interesting to see if Google makes it more friendly to people who may not already have Gmail accounts (it prompted me to use Google's Checkout software since it knew I was signed into Gmail, so I couldn't easily select a different way to pay). The real winner could be the availability of textbooks, academic works, and inventories of local bookshops, and the launch of this ebookstore should at least give pause to those who have been doing it for longer without a lot of major competition.