How to Find out a book from Google Books easily

Google Books (Google Books) has advanced search that helps discover the name of literary works, newspapers and magazines

In the beginning there was Google Books. Or almost. In 1998, when it was born, Google still did not work with books. But the project of digitizing printed works is as old as the search engine itself. In 1996, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, were students and worked on a project supported by the Stanford Digital Library Technologies Project.

The goal was to make digital libraries work by predicting a future where there would be huge collections of digitized books and people would use a “web crawler” to index the content and analyze the connections between them to search.

How to Find out a book from Google Books easily

The such crawler they eventually created was called BackRub, and it was this turnaround in traditional literary citation analysis that inspired Google’s PageRank algorithms – the main search technology that makes Google be, well, itself.

But it was only in 2002 that a group of officials officially started a secret “book” project. They start talking to experts about a simple but crucial question: how long would it take to digitize each book? Larry Page and Marissa Mayer (then Google) used a metronome to keep pace while methodically scanning a 300-page volume. It took 40 min.

In 2004, Google Books was born (formerly called Google Print), a global service that searches for full text books that Google scans, converts to digital text using optical character recognition, and stores it in the digital database.

Years passed and in 2007 Mayer introduced “universal search” in the US and “book search” became a more integrated part of Google’s search experience. And that’s exactly what will help you figure out the name of a book.

Finding out the name of a book in Google Books

  1. Go to;
  2. On the gear icon, at the top right, select Advanced Book Search;


  1. Do a search on, typically;
  2. Click “More,” and then choose “Books.”

In the Books version, it seems that Google forgot to update the system interface, but it works very well. There you can do advanced searches using some of the following information. Or you can navigate using the current universal search interface.

  • with all the words (excerpts from the book)
  • with the expression (exact phrase, better to use a few words)
  • with any of the words (wider search)
  • without the words (by elimination)

If you can not remember the name of a book, try using words that came to mind, the author’s name, the publisher’s name, or internal excerpts from the book (look up citations earlier).

You can still …

  • Search by content type: Books, Magazines or Newspapers;
  • Choose the language of your search (includes foreign versions of books);
  • Search by author, publisher, publication date,
  • Show books by ISBN * and/or ISSN **.

* International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a system for identifying books and software with numbers to classify them by title, author, country, publisher and edition.

** The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit serial number used for unique identification of a series. It is especially useful in distinguishing between series with the same title in sorting, cataloging and lending between libraries.

Google Books ‘book search’ is available today in more than 35 languages.

Microsoft has also started a similar project, called Live Search Books in late 2006. The initiative ran until May 2008, when it was abandoned. The good news is that all Live Search books are available on the Internet Archive website.

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