Google Editions eBook Store launching end of 2010

Google is expected to launch an online eBook store before the end of the year under the name of Google Editions and that once again puts the head to head against Apple and their new iBooks:

The long-delayed venture—Google executives had said they hoped to launch this summer—recently has cleared several technical and legal hurdles, people close to the company say. It is set to debut in the U.S. by the end of the year and internationally in the first quarter of next year, said Scott Dougall, a Google product management director.

Google will handle their eBook store differently from how Apple or Amazon play the game, opting for a "read anywhere" model where users can purchase an eBook from Google (or an online retail partner) and it's added to an online library tied to your Google account. Users can then access their Google account from a number of devices including smartphones and tablets.

No word yet on revenue sharing (iBooks is 70/30), which publishing companies have signed up, or which partners will come on board. However, Google's reach is not to be underestimated:

Google says it is on a mission to reach all Internet users, not just those with tablets, through a program in which websites refer their users to Google Editions. For example, a surfing-related blog could recommend a surfing book, point readers to Google Editions to purchase it, and share revenue with Google. Through another program, booksellers could sell Google Editions e-books from their websites and share revenue with Google.

Keeping things on the cloud is nothing new for Google and it's worked well for services like Gmail. If Google Editions is successful could it have a negative impact on iBooks but, like Amazon's Kindle app, add value to iPad and iPhone at the same time?

Let us know in the comments!