One billion is a big number. It comes with nine zeroes. Nine. It's the amount Facebook paid for Instagram, and now, it's how many times Play Books has appeared on an Android device. Google's app for reading ebooks has passed the one billion installs mark.
Since this is a Google app, the accomplishment isn't as impressive as it was for WhatsApp, as Play Books comes pre-installed on probably the majority of devices it's on. Read More
A couple of months ago, we published a story about the scam problem in Google Play Books, and we haven't been alone in criticism of the store's issues.
The gist is this: Google's Play Books store was plagued by scammy "guide" books that, for a few dollars, promised access to cracked APKs, but in reality provided nothing but scams and malware.
Two of the publishers we mentioned in the post - Monster Guides Editor Pro and leon Master - were removed from the Play Store, but plenty remain, still distributing links to pirated apps and malicious sites, or outright selling the work of legitimate authors. Read More
Besides a dogfood version of Play Games, update Wednesday brought us a new version of Play Books - 3.4.5. The changes in this update aren't major (or even immediately apparent), but they are worth taking a quick look at.
First up, there's a brand new translation interface. Rather than a toolbar and sheet overlay, the new translate interface lives on a card, just like the existing notes and dictionary interfaces. Here's a quick before and after.
Left: Play Books 3.3 Right: Play Books 3.4
Next up, new changes to notes. The ability to take notes in a book was present in 3.3, but users could not do that in a free sample of a book. Read More
Voracious readers and Word-A-Day calendar fans, this one is for you. While the latest update to Google Play Books isn't anywhere near as dramatic as the Material Design refresh six weeks ago, it nonetheless adds a couple of features that regular readers will find useful. First of all, version 3.3 adds a downloadable dictionary option to augment Play Books' instant lookup feature. To apply it, just highlight a word in any book and then tap the contextual "download" button.
Obviously this will be a boon for places where you might not be able to get reliable Internet access, notably during air travel or in a foreign country, but tablet users in particular will be happy to see the offline dictionary. Read More
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.
After years of waiting, folks in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan can now purchase books from the Play Store. Read More
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.
Google has pushed out a new version of Play Books with material design, but it's not just a different look. Version 3.2 might change the way you read books on your device. It certainly looks nicer, but you can also easily skim through a book with a flick. Read More
Have you gotten tired of these app walkthroughs yet? Well, we have one more for right now - Google Play Books. The update to Google Play Books that we're looking at here is - like everything else - pre-release, meaning things could change a little or a lot before the app is actually released. But what we're seeing so far is a minor nudge for the app, bringing it into line with the rest of Google's apps.
In many ways, Play Books is very similar to Google Play Movies, which we took a look at several days ago. It's got a new icon, a new bold color that's used everywhere in the app, and some new design paradigms. Read More
Google Play is filled with content, but the digital goods are available on a country by country basis. Today we've seen Google add four more to the list of nations with Play Books availability. They are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine.
Play Books appears to still be in the process of rolling out, because as you can see in the screenshot for Ukraine below, the banner announcing availability has appeared, but the section hasn't yet shown up in the sidebar. Clicking on the banner tosses up a message saying that Play Books is not yet available.
Regardless, it's only now a matter of time before more European readers are able to tap into Google's platform for consuming, uploading, and syncing books across multiple devices. Read More
Canadian college goers, there might just be one less book tucked under your arm as you head to class this semester. Google has announced that Google Play textbooks are now coming to Canada. Students north of the border will have the option to rent or purchase digital textbooks and read them using Play Books on phones, tablets, and PCs.
As is the case in the US, textbooks aren't filtered out from other books on Google Play, so discovering them isn't as easy as it could be. Search works well though, with students able to find works by title, author, or ISBN. Read More