Google never stops tweaking and improving its products. Here are some recent upgrades that make listening to audiobooks, watching movies or TV, sending yourself reminders, and communicating with others easier and more enjoyable.
Google added audiobooks to Google Play in January. Now, they’ve updated their audiobook service with several new features. Smart Resume automatically rewinds a book to the beginning of a previous word or sentence. It’s designed to make it easier to pick a book back up after an unexpected interruption caused a pause at an inopportune time. Google describes the rewind as “intelligent”. I hope that means a rewind will not occur when reading is stopped at an obvious breaking point.
The Google Play Books app now has a Bookmark function that lets you save locations you might want to return to later. Just tap the icon to return to the bookmark. Audiobooks can now be included in the Routines that work with Google’s Assistant. This can be very useful if, for example, you’d rather listen to a book than music or a podcast during your daily commute. It won’t be so useful if Google’s audiobooks don’t sync across devices. The reading-rate control has been expanded. Books can now be heard from 0.5 to 3.0 times the normal reading rate.
Home-controlled Bluetooth speakers
Audiobooks often succeed or fail based on how well the reader captures the written word and communicates it to the listener. Google can help with that. Its Home devices now have the ability to control Bluetooth speakers. If you use Home to control your audiobook, the reader will sound better, and you may find the book is more engaging.
A single Home device can control Bluetooth speakers throughout the house, so whatever you’re listening to can stay with you wherever you go. The communication between Home and the speaker is one way, however. You can’t issue commands to Home through the speaker, so if you have to pause the audio when you’re in a room where Home can’t hear you, you’re out of luck.