Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Turning the page with a new Google Play Books app for Android

Google Play Books enables you to read more than 4 million books on the go, and it's available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Korea and Japan. Today we’re bringing new features to the Books app to help you better explore your books and understand what you’re reading.

Places and dictionary
School’s now in full swing and students are picking up the classics. Whether you're diving into Moby Dick or trying your hand at some Tolstoy, we want to make your reading experience as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. Starting today, when you come across an unfamiliar geographic location—a faraway city or distant mountain range—you can tap on the location to learn more about it. You’ll see an info card with a Google Map and the option to get more information by searching on Google or Wikipedia.

Explore locations using info cards in Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

Similarly when you come across an unfamiliar word (say, abligurition or jentacular), just tap it for a quick definition.

For those adventurous readers making their way through books in non-native languages, you can now easily translate words or phrases to and from a number of languages. Just select the text or word and use the button on the top action bar to indicate which language you’d like translate into.

Highlighting and notes
If you happen to page through any of the books on my shelf, you’ll likely find highlighted passages and illegibly scrawled notes in the margins. Starting today, our app lets you highlight text and easily take notes. And because all your books live in the cloud, highlights and notes sync on your tablet, phone and the web.

You will also notice a new sepia reading theme (in addition to the current day and night themes), 2D sliding page turn animation, and lots of stability improvements. Finally, you can now read Japanese books in a vertical, right-to-left layout—and flip pages from right to left.

We hope these features make reading more enjoyable—and productive.

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