Google hasn’t seen fit to end the five months and running hiatus of its publisher portal, but that doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned plans for Google Play Books.
Earlier today comic book readers were gifted with an update that, while it doesn’t make for an awesome reading experience, does improve support for digital comics.
I tested the app both before and after the update, using the first volume of The Walking Dead. The update doesn’t add a guided viewing mode(*) like the one offered by Kobo, Kindle, or Comixology, but it does offer a new default zoom setting. When viewing in landscape mode, the app zooms until the page width matches the screen. Before, the app zoomed to fit both the width and height, and wasted screen space.
This update also adds a couple optional features. You can now tap to scroll the page, rather than swipe, and you can have the app remember your page zoom setting when you turn the page.
In related news, Google has also reorganized the comics section of Google Play books:
We’ve also made finding great comics and series really easy. Now we’re offering a new comics destination and a bunch of beautifully curated series pages on the Google Play Store that organize volumes, issues and other editions of the top comic series. You’ll also find new personalized recommendations for similar series to help you discover new stories and characters.
All in all, the updates are an improvement on the abysmal features provided before the update, but they’re still nothing to write home about. In all seriousness, they are on par with the features that Adobe Reader had on Windows CE a decade ago, or can be found in most PDF apps today.
But hey, any improvement is a plus.
The app can be found in Google Play.
P.S. Can anyone tell me if the app has a guided viewing mode? I didn’t want to buy comic books and go looking for it.