Google Books announced last week that it was opening up the Google Books site to authors and publishers who have made books available under Creative Commons licenses. As you can see from the additional information provided here, the books must be made fully browsable and downloadable from Google Books, which is good for us, the end user.
Unfortunately the ability to limit your search to just those items published under a CC license is not yet available at Google’s advanced search. (Google notes in its blog post that this will bean option that will become available as more publishers/authors make their books available this way.) You can narrow down your searches to those materials that provide access to full content only, which will help you find Creative Commons works.
One of the things I learned while I tried experimenting with this is that Google Books has added a LOT of magazine content — I don’t see talk about it much but it has. So you might want to narrow down your search results to just books as well.
55 Ways to Have Fun With Google is one of the Creative Commons books, and you can see its page at http://books.google.com/books?id=-XDkb3htVikC. Look on the lower-left corner for the book’s CC badge.
I’m looking forward to seeing a CC-specific search option once a critical mass of CC books have been added to Google Books’ database. I also hope that this will spur Google to start some kind of “Google CC”, one spot to search for CC-licensed books, images, Web pages, and maybe even more…