Google today updated its Google Play Books app for Android with a new way to read digital comics. Called Bubble Zoom, the feature uses machine learning to intelligently zoom into speech bubbles as you read on your phone or tablet. You can download the new version now from Google Play.
The goal is to make reading comics on a mobile device easier. The feature works because of machine learning; using the same technology to recognize objects in photos, Google trained its reading system to automatically recognize speech bubbles and panels in comics.
Each time you tap, the feature zooms into the speech bubbles of a comic book, making them easier to read on the go. Bubble Zoom automatically identifies and expands each speech bubble for readability, without compromising the full-page experience since you don’t have to pan around. In fact, Google claims Bubble Zoom lets you easily read comics one-handed.
The new addition was announced on both the Marvel and DC Comics stages at Comic-Con International: San Diego. It therefore shouldn’t surprise anyone that Bubble Zoom is available starting on Marvel and DC Comics collected volumes sold in the Google Play store. At least for now, only English comics are supported.
Google said that Bubble Zoom is a technical preview and that “this exclusive experience is only the first step.” The company wouldn’t elaborate when the feature might be considered final, though it will continue teaching its machines to read more comic book styles so that users can use Bubble Zoom on “all the comics and manga ever made.” As for iOS, Google didn’t say when the feature would arrive on Apple’s mobile platform.
Lastly, if you like Marvel and DC Comics, you should be happy to learn Google is celebrating the new addition with a 50 percent off sale on select titles from the two publishers. Just use the code SDCC2016 in Google Play by July 24, 2016.