Google has revealed plans to launch its own online ebook store, due to open its virtual doors in the first half of 2010.

Although the online giant is currently embroiled in legal wrangles over its Google Books book scanning project, it hasn't stopped it from announcing the new "Google Editions" scheme.

The store will initially offer around half a million ebooks in formats suitable for any device with a web browser.

While Google will host the ebooks and make them searchable, it's said consumers will be able to buy titles direct, or go through the likes of Amazon - a big player in the market thanks to its Kindle reader range, or Barnes & Noble which has ambitions to make it big.

Google has ruled out making hardware to go along with the launch of the content store - "We're not focused on a dedicated e-reader or device of any kind", Google's director of strategic partnerships told Reuters at the Frankfurt Book Fair.