The latest version of Google Play Books for Android showed up yesterday in Google Play. This wasn’t a major update but it did add a couple features and drop a hint about Google’s future plans.
The app features a new Serif font, Literata. This typeface developed by Type Together. It was commissioned by Google to replace Droid Serif, and as any font nerd can tell you they look nothing alike.
Next up, there’s a new translation interface.
GPB used to take up the full screen with the translation menu when you translated a word or phrase in an ebook, and now it displays the translated phrase on a card:
That is going to prove useful, but not nearly as useful as the new notes feature.
Android Police went digging through the install file for Google Play Books, and they found hints in the code which they say suggests that Google is going to start syncing your notes and highlights to some location in Google Drive.
This code is not active yet, but I agree that it does point to the possibility.
Google Play Books already syncs the annotations you make in the personal ebooks you upload; now it looks like Google is going to start storing the notes and highlights in an easily accessible location in the cloud.
And more importantly, an easily sharable location. Getting your notes out of GPB is great in and of itself, but sharing is even more important. Once the notes are in Google Drive, they can be shared with just about anyone. And that is what could be the killer feature here.
Many ebook platforms let you share notes inside the platform, or even share _a_ note on social networks, but Google offers the promise of sharing a complete set (or some subset) of notes from a book.
The possible benefits for collaboration are obvious.