Google announced today that they have integrated public library catalogs into their search results. I can’t see the new results page, but Android Police reported that the side ad-bar in Google’s search results now includes links to library listings:
This new feature works on both mobile and desktop and manifests simply. If you search for the title of a book, you’ll see one of two things. On desktop search, there’s an additional heading in the detailed results/information card on the right. But on mobile, it’s buried in the Get Book tab, just under the Buy ebook card.
I did run into some inconsistency with this new feature. While some books would bring up the Borrow ebook card without any problem, other titles just wouldn’t trigger it. While Cixin Liu’s “Three-Body Problem” had the extra field in results, searches for N. K. Jemisin’s recent Hugo Award winner “The Obelisk Gate” didn’t trigger the same behavior.
I first thought it might have to do with availability, but the card appeared for titles with universally long waiting lists, too. Behavior was the same for search on both desktop and mobile, and I’m at a loss to explain why.
That’s a neat trick, and one I will appreciate once I can actually use it.
My local library (Prince William Public Library) is just terrible at search. It’s search feature was apparently programmed by a Yahoo intern in 2003, and never upgraded.
Yes, it is that bad, so any trick that bypasses the problems is a huge improvement.