Do you read comic books from the Play Store? If not, you might want to start. Google just announced a great new feature at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 that changes the experience of reading comic books. It's called Bubble Zoom and it quite literally makes speech bubbles leap off the page. Each blob of text is identified and sequentially pops up with the press of a volume button or a tap at the bottom-right of the screen. Check out Google's introduction video:
With the use of its powerful machine learning and image recognition technology, Google can identify speech bubbles on the page and enlarge them on the page. The magnification of individual talking points makes it easier to read dialog while the entire page is left visible. There's even an added sense of action as the bubbles animate back and forth on the page.
For now, the only supported comics are collections published by Marvel and DC. There's a list of them here. To promote Bubble Zoom, Google is offering 50% off these books with the code SDCC2016. The code even works with some of the books that are already discounted. Of course, you can also try it out with the free samples available on these books. This is considered a "tech preview," but Bubble Zoom will eventually expand to other comics on the store. Supported books also include a note in the details page that points out that they are a part of the preview (shown above).
Upon opening a supported book, you'll see a welcome screen that demonstrates how to control the speech bubbles. It's done by simply clicking the up and down volume buttons, or tapping on the left or right side of the screen, just like you would to turn pages (if that option is enabled).
Bubble Zoom is available in Play Books v3.9.37, released just this morning. Only three days ago, a previous update to v3.9.17 added search suggestions and new content badges.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.
- Android blog