There has been, and still is, a lot of confusion about Google Editions. The above is the title of an article by Eric Freese of Aptara. It gives a good overview of where Google Editions stands, or doesn’t stand, right now.
The article covers the following topics: Which books, Platforms, Partners, Epub, Cost and price, Enhanced ebooks, Print on demand, Google tablet and more. Here’s a snippet:
Google plans for the books to be read through a web browser rather than a specific reading program or device. They have also mentioned the possibility of building software to optimize reading for certain devices, like the iPad, but haven’t announced any specific plans. Since books are read from ‘the cloud,’ it is assumed that you must have internet access. What’s not clear is what the browser requirements might be and whether an on-device browser, like the Kindle’s, will support Editions.
I asked Google at a conference about the persistence of a book in a browser and they told me that with compression technology it is easy to cache the entire book in the browser and so after the initial download there should be no need to have an internet connection to read the whole book.