Google began to include magazines to their book search engine some time ago. The search is currently limited to selected magazines with plans to expand what is being offered in the future. One could probably assume that only older or outdated magazines have been scanned by the Google Book Search team, but this is apparently not the case. Several December 08 issues of popular magazines are already accessible by the book search.
Some examples are issues of Maximum PC, Men's Health or Mac Life that you find on Google Books. Google does not provide a list of all available magazines which means that you need to use the search to find magazines of interest. One of the best methods to find current issues is to limit the type to magazines and the year to the current year which can both be done in the advanced search options.
Each magazine can be read right in the web browser. It is possible to scroll through the magazine, jump to a page and to zoom in or out. There is also an option to view the magazine in fullscreen and to display two pages next to each other which is great for users with widescreen monitors.
The quality of the scans is quite good. It is interesting to note that zooming will have no impact on the text quality. Google Books seems to use a method to sharpen text after zooming in or out.
Google needs to work on the usability of Google Book Search. The most important function that is missing is an overview of all available magazines.
Update: Magazine Search has been updated on Google Books. You can now access the magazine listing in list view or cover view, or use the search form to find specific publications. The search lists all magazine editions that are available, not only one that the classic magazine view offers.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.