A new update to the Google Play Books app is rolling out this morning, bringing a new feature to trim silent moments in audio books to speed up the listening process. The update is version 4.3 for those keeping score at home and is just now making its way into the Play Store.
The new Trim Silence feature is found in the Playback settings menu that you can access while listening to an audio book. For those that may not use Google Play Books often for audio books, this is accessed by pressing the speed playback icon while listening to an audio book.
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About two months ago, Google Play Books picked up the ability to play audiobooks natively and overall, the experience was pretty good. But Google is wanting to make the experience better, especially when audiobooks are played in conjunction with Google Assistant.
First, you now have what Google is calling Smart Resume. When you are interrupted by something on your phone and you need to pause your audiobook mid-sentence, when you return, Smart Resume will rewind you back to the beginning of the word or sentence you were on so you can pick back up where you left off. Prior to this update, you had to manually rewind so this make that feature far more helpful.
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After accidentally leaking the news over the weekend, Google has officially announced that audiobooks have come to Google Play Books. The update requires that you have the latest version of the Play Books app for both Android and iOS, which is version 4.0 for those on Android. Once you have it, you will be able to listen to your books on your phone or tablet.
Even better, Google has fully integrated the experience with Google Assistant and Google Home, meaning you can tell Assistant to read a book to you and it will read it on your Home.
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It is one thing when a company gets an upcoming feature or product leaked. It is another thing entirely when the company itself leaks the upcoming feature or product. That appears to be what happened late on Friday with Google Play Books.
Both online and in the Android app, a banner in the Play Books store promoting the coming of Audiobooks to the store and a 50% discount on your first purchase. I, unfortunately, didn’t capture the banner but the folks over at 9to5 Google did and you can see it here.
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With the holiday season in full swing, Google has rolled out a new holidays promotion in the Google Play Store. The aptly named Google 12 Days of Play brings discounts to games, movies and television shows, books and discounts on subscriptions. It is a pretty impressive offer and there is likely something for everyone in the promotion.
Let’s talk about apps. In the Google 12 Days of Play, there are 20 games that are discounted up to 80% on offer. You can find the full list here but some of the games include:
- Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2 for .99 Cents (normally $4.99)
- Bloons TD 5 for .99 Cents (normally $2.99)
- Final Fantasy Tactics: WotL for $4.99 (normally $11.99)
- The Game of Life for .99 Cents (normally $2.99)
- The Room Three for .99 Cents (normally $3.99)
- Need for Speed Most Wanted for .99 Cents (normally $4.99)
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Google Play Books, the eReader app from Google, has a new update rolling out today. The updated version, build 3.15.5 for those keeping score at home, is mostly a maintenance update but does bring stylus support to the app. Once update, and if you have a device with a stylus, you can now use it to highlight text and select text as you read.
Support for styli is something that shouldn’t entirely be unexpected. Devices like the Note8 and others have had stylus input for a while new Chromebooks like the Samsung Chromebook Pro, which can run Android apps, also comes with a pen. Later this month, the new Pixelbook from Google will hit shelves and it has an optional PixelPen for inputs. It’s only natural for apps to start picking up this input method as the line between Chrome OS and Android continues to blur.
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Google Play Books for Android has a new update rolling out in the Play Store, bringing with it a new shelves concept to your library. The update, version 3.14.17 for those keeping score at home, allows you to quickly sort your books by those you have not started reading, those you are currently reading, and those you have completed. This makes it easier to find that book you are currently reading instead of having to wade through the list of books you have already completed.
The update allows you to mark any book in your library as finished but, interestingly, it does not allow you to mark a book as not started. This could be a handy feature if there is a book you started a while back, never completed, and want to start over on it.
The new shelves visible in the Library tab of the Google Play Books app.
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A new and exciting features for those who read comics in Google Play Books has begun rolling out to users. The new Bubble Zoom feature is designed to make reading the speech bubbles in a comic book much easier by automatically zooming in on those bubbles as you view the comic page.
Using the same technology to recognize objects in photos, we trained our system to identify speech bubbles in comics. Bubble zoom expands the speech bubbles of a comic one-tap-at-a-time, making them super easy to read on your mobile device. It’s much easier to read digital comics one-handed as Bubble Zoom automatically identifies and expands each speech bubble for readability. No more compromising the full-page experience or getting lost while panning around.
The feature was announced last week at the San Diego Comic-Con as Google continues to push to be a leading comic book platform for readers.
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