Despite its storied history with books, Google still has a fascination with the format. Past efforts included book digitalization on a massive scale and most recently an attempt to make truly interactive eBooks. Today, Google was granted two patents (via Engadget) for physical books with interesting augmented reality elements…
The more ambitious of the two patents involves a physical book embedded with motion and pressure sensors in its pages. Each turn of the page would activate a projector located in the book’s spine that would display visuals. The book would also have a speaker to play accompanying audio with each page turn and visual. This seems wildly unfeasible and impractical for now, as cost would prohibit the device from ever being sold at a profit. It would nevertheless make for a cool tech demo.
The second patent would be a much more conventional take on augmented reality. Users would require a device and an app to view the book through. Every physical page turn is accompanied by a virtual page turn on the phone or tablet. This patent is appropriately called a “Media Enhanced Pop-up Book” and is definitely already plausible with today’s technology.
It’s worth remembering that patents are just patents, though, so there’s no guarantee that either of these may ever turn out to be something that Google actually builds. In fact, considering the massive number of patents the Mountain View company has, it’s actually very likely that we never see this materialize.
A month ago Google announced Editions at Play. The eBooks are available through a browser and meant to be read on a mobile device. Books incorporate such things as Google Street View and music to incorporate an interactive element that is thematically relevant to the story the book is telling. They are available now for $3.25 and can be purchased through the Play Store.