Laptop Magazine's Kenneth Butler describes the X-Ray feature and shows the video demo Jeff Bezos used to demonstrate how this works. Those who watched the entire 52 minute presentation will have seen this in very low resolution. Here's the YouTube video
Fixed a bad link Thursday morning
There's also another video
Note to Kindle-Edition subscribers re the video links
Those reading this on a Kindle-Edition subscription can type those two links into the browser when at a computer. I have to say this because the Kindle blog dept regularly sends me demands to remove video links from the Kindle editions to meet quality requirements, which I can't do without removing them from this webpage blog itself (!), but I think it's better to let Kindle subscribers know how they can see a demo or tutorial if they want.
The added information shown by X-ray
The X-Ray feature comes with the Kindle Touch models. When you highlight a word to get more information on it (dictionary definition, or choosing to go to Wikipedia or Google), it won't need to connect you to the Internet to get information external to the book (unless you want it to) -- Amazon will (in late November) include with every book purchase "a small file pre-loaded with relevant Wikipedia content (and other information)." As you can see in the video, some of that information can be descriptions of characters as seen on Amazon's Shelfari
Instances of word or character in sequence with links to pages
While one of the features (pointed out by Consumer Reports) is that pressing to highlight a word lets you see, sequentially, all mentions of a character or phrase within a book, the Kindle has always done that and is one reason I like it. Here's an example from Oct. 2009 as to how that works in all models currently. Consumer Reports did not look at or report on features like this when doing e-reader comparisons in the last two years. Nor did they mention these were presented by-book, in sequence and printable, on a private, password-protected annotations page given to Kindle customers in our Amazon areas.
X-Ray's new statistical information
Amazon has mentioned that it can display statistics that include the frequency of appearance of a word or character in a book, or even in a chapter or on one page. You'll see this in the video. (I guess one can wonder if a character will show up again or is particularly important in the scheme of things).
What's involved in gathering the added information for the file
Whatever algorithms Amazon uses to choose which words or phrases get the added information in the side-file, Amazon points out that the process of choosing and including this external information uses "its expertise in language processing and machine learning, access to significant storage and computing resources...and a deep library of book and character information."
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Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
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