The Goodreads app wasn't bad when it came out, but it's been far behind the times pretty much ever since. With the most recent update, however, it's getting a fresh coat of paint with a number of subtle changes. It's not material, but it's creeping slowly in that direction.
Niantic Labs is mostly known for the game Ingress, and now the Google internal startup has announced its next project. The upcoming Endgame: Proving Ground is another immersive alternative reality experience, but this time it's part of a larger fictional world. This game will take place in the Endgame universe created with the help of author James Frey.
We are, at this point, familiar with fake apps in the Play Store—they pop up from time to time, but Google swiftly eliminates them. It seems like for all its efforts in cleaning up the Play Store, Google has a blind spot when it comes to books. There are multiple publisher accounts in Google Play Books that claim to offer cracked APKs for a dollar or two, and people are buying them.
I'm no Android developer, but I figure if I wanted to get started, I'd check out some videos and pick up a couple of books. That leads to the obvious question: where are these things? Packt, a publisher of both eBooks and good old-fashioned print ones, is currently offering its full catalog of development-oriented works for $5 each (in digital format only). It's also offering a few videos at the same price.
The debate between physical and digital books is a heated one. Some people prefer the look of a tome on their bookshelf and enjoy the smell of each page as they hold their nose to an old favorite. Others like the convenience that comes with having access to an entire personal library of books whenever and wherever they have their phone. One clear disadvantage of digital books, though, is the ability for a single company to determine when and where you can buy them.
If you snagged a new Nexus 9 this past week, hit up the Google Play Books app. It looks like Google is offering a free book from a selection of best-sellers, and all you have to do is accept. We don't yet know if other devices are eligible or if there are geographic restrictions, but you might as well check.
There's a surprising lack of options when it comes to Android audiobooks. Sure, there's Audible, but its metered subscription service isn't an ideal solution for a lot of people, and other services tend to be light on content. Audiobook enthusiasts now have another alternative: Barnes & Noble. NOOK (ALL CAPS) Audiobooks is available as a free download on any Android 4.0+ device, though I'm betting that only those in the US can actually buy books.
Let's be honest, busy people don't have time to trudge through long books made of mostly filler. Unfortunately, publishers know they can't put a high price on a 40-page book. In the end, authors are stuck building a lavish sea of meaningless words around the simple concepts they want to convey. That's where Blinkist comes in. It's a service that boils popular non-fiction books down to their most formative and salient points.
Google has not only posted that Play Books is now available in 12 more nations, but it also took the opportunity to test our knowledge of geography. Rather than simply list the countries, the Google Play G+ account posted an image of 13 flags (Norway actually went live the other day, hence 12 new ones). Thanks, guys.