Google Data Arts Team Launches Infinite Virtual 3D Bookcase (video)

Literary enthusiasts with modern web browsers can now use Google's WebGL bookcase to access 10K+ Google Books titles.

"A digital interface needs to be familiar enough to be intuitive, while simultaneously taking advantage of the lack of constraints in a virtual space," creators Aaron Koblin -- from Google's  Data Arts team -- and Bill Schillit -- from Google's research team -- write on the blog. "In this case, we imagined something that looks like the shelves in your living room, but is also capable of showcasing the huge number of titles available online -- many more than fit on a traditional shelf." 

Books are organized into 28 subjects, such as humor, science, and computers and Internet. Once you click on a subject, the camera flies to that subject. To browse books, spin the bookcase side-to-side by clicking and dragging, or move it up and down with your mouse. 

[ See screen shots after the jump. ]

Click on a book to take it off of the digital shelf. The digital bookcase, which uses the Google Books API, provides title and author information, and a synopsis. Click "Get this book" to navigate to, where you can read more or buy the eBook. 

Aaron and Bill recommend using Google Chrome and a fast computer with a powerful graphics card to get the best experience. 

"Even with new hardware, this interface is experimental and may not work on some machines," the blog states.

See other web browser experiments at Chrome Experiments, an online library showcasing creative user-submitted web experiments.


Click on a book to take it off of the digital shelf.

The WebGL bookcase offers 28 subject categories.


Aaron Koblin, Creative Director of Data Arts Team
Twitter: @aaronKoblin  

Bill Schillit, Research at Google