Google Updates Google Play Books Android App With "Read Aloud" Feature And More

By Jimmie Geddes | Dec 19, 2012 01:32 PM EST

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Goggle is having a busy week adding some very cool new features to existing Google products/services. The Internet giant added a free iTunes Match-like service to Google Music on Tuesday and if that wasn't enough, Google also updated its Google Play Books app with some exciting new features. Google Play Books is Google's answer to Amazon's Kindle app and Apple's iBooks app. Google pushed out a huge update to the app through the Google Play Store on Tuesday evening.

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Similar to Amazon Kindle's spoken word feature, Google updated the Google Play Books Android app to add a "Read Aloud" function to the app. The newest and coolest update to the Google Play Books app features a "High-quality voice" option compared to Amazon Kindle's more robotic sounding voice. Apple currently doesn't offer iOS users the ability to have the iBooks app read aloud.

In order to use the high quality voice option in the Google Play Books app, you'll need to be connected to the Internet. If you're unable to connect to the Internet the Google Play Books app will still allow you to use the "Read Aloud" feature but you'll have to settle for a lower quality, robotic sounding voice.

To enable the "High-quality voice" feature, open up the Google Play Books app, tap the menu key, tap settings and check the box next to "High-quality voice". Once you do this, back out of settings and tap the menu key again and tap on "Read Aloud". You'll now have your Android device reading to you out loud.

Google Play Books Update (Photo: Mobile & Apps)
Google Play Books Update (Photo: Mobile & Apps)

Google has also cleverly added a highlight feature that shows you exactly what's being read to you on the page in real time. This feature is very handy. It allows you to read along while listening to the voice or use the "Read Aloud" feature for an audio book-like experience. I found it rather enjoyable and more natural sounding using the "High-quality voice" option compared to the standard option which sounds on par with Amazon Kindle's robot-like sounding voice.

Google also added another new feature to the Google Play Books app. You can now pinch to zoom and double tap to zoom in all books. Google Play Books is free and you can get it here in the Google Play store.

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