google play books update

Google kicked off its annual I/O developers conference yesterday with its customary keynote. The search giant used the nearly 4-hour long affair to announce new software and services, including Spotify-like Play Music All Access and Hangouts messaging.

Additionally, Google also took the opportunity yesterday to update some of its apps. It gave Gmail some new action buttons, showed off a preview of its upcoming Maps update, and released a new version of its Play Books app for both iOS and Android…

Here’s the change log for Play Books 1.5.1:

– Support for reading your own PDF or EPUB files. You can upload the files using Google Play web site, and read them on all your devices.
– Stability and performance improvements.

Admittedly, the list of improvements here is short, but the first one is extremely invaluable. Now, even non-Google Play Books customers can take advantage of the app by uploading PDF and ePUB files to the Play cloud, and viewing them on their phone or tablet.

As for the app itself, I’m not really a fan. The UI obviously hasn’t gotten the gorgeous overhaul that the rest of Google’s iOS apps received last year. And, like other eBook apps, you can’t browse the Google Play store, meaning you’ll have to add books from another device.

But according to Google, Play Books has the largest eBook selection available, and its prices are among some of the lowest I’ve seen. So maybe it’s worth checking out. If you’re interested, you can find the new Google Play Books app in the App Store for free.

  • Nick Partridge

    To transfer an ebook to my iPad I have to upload it to google play then download it again to be able to read it. I have a bandwidth limit and this model is stupid when compared with competing ebook readers that simply use drag and drop within itunes. Honestly google what are you thinking!

    • There thinking it’s better than nothing. Unfortunately not better than something (iTunes). They should use the iTunes documents integration which allows you to place files in an apps documents directory…

  • You are missing the most valuable thing here – it syncs read & page status on all your devices, even for your uploaded books. ie put down your ipad on page 121 of a book you have uploaded, pick up your iphone and there it is on the right page. Kindle and other apps have done this for ages for books purchased within their ecosystems, but doing it for uploaded books is new.