As everyone probably knows (or has seen the little ‘Play NEW’ button on the navigation bar) Google has morphed Apps, Books and Films all into one entertainment hub named Google Play.
This is great for Android users who can purchase, download and access content from Google Play at will. But what about non-Android users - in particular, those that have an infinity for the ‘bad Apple?’
A new Play Books app for iOS5 was released and I had a play around with it.
Firstly, there’s no dedicated store built-in to purchase or download books (which isn’t too surprising, seen as though Apple and Google can’t stand each other). What you have is a only a ‘book shelf’ that keeps your books that you have purchased online.
You log in using your Google login details and it takes you to your ‘shelf’ which contains the books you previously downloaded. It syncs wirelessly over the cloud, so you can pick up reading from where you left off.
It works in both portrait and landscape and has a very similar look and feel to books read through Apple’s iBooks app.
Chapters are listed in a drop-down box and can also be found sliding across the scroll bar at the bottom.
The settings include the ability to switch the page to Night View, change the text size and also the font. Line height can also be altered to suit your preference.
3D Page turns enables you to either switch on or off the infamous page turn animation. Switching it off will just slide the pages horizontally, similar to when you read PDF’s.
A really cool feature is Scanned Pages. Turning this changes the pages into original scanned prints of the actual book. It really does take you back when you experience it and I’m sure it’s a feature that will be appreciated by many.
That being said, there are many features missing.
The ability to bookmark a page, add notes or even highlight a passage are surprisingly absent. Especially, as these are features that everyone is so accustomed to now.
Lack of a built-in store to purchase books is a glaring omission. We don’t know if that is Apple’s doing or not, but I reckon users will think twice before downloading the app because of it.
The app is good if you purchase a lot of books from Google and want better your reading experience. The ability to sync over the cloud is always useful and hopefully with more updates, these missing features can be implemented.
You can download the free app from iTunes here.