Bubble Zoom is Google’s Half-Hearted Solution to Reading Comics on a Small Screen

Many digital comics still based on the 6.5" x 10.25" floppy, and that simply doesn't work on a 7" or smaller screen. This is why Amazon, B&N, and Comixology each have their own version of a directed reading mode which moves the reader from one frame of the comic to the next.

Now Google has revealed its take on this idea. On Thursday Google released a new version of the Play Books Android app with a new feature called Bubble Zoom.

Here's how Google explained the feature:

You can see Bubble Zoom in action in the GIFs below.

Bubble Zoom is Google's Half-Hearted Solution to Reading Comics on a Small Screen e-Reading Software Google Books   Bubble Zoom is Google's Half-Hearted Solution to Reading Comics on a Small Screen e-Reading Software Google Books

Play Books is refusing to open on either my phone or my Android tablet, so I can't report first hand, but this looks less useful than the directed viewing mode offered by, for example, Comixology.

That let you zoom in on individual panels on a page, while Bubble Zoom simply makes the text about twice as tall. Zooming in in a single panel lets you see more of the detail which you can't see when viewing an entire page.

Google would disagree. As they explained in the following video, they wanted to let readers see the full page image so they get the full impact of the artwork.

That's all well and good, but the thing is Google's competitors offer both a panel view and a full page view. So no, readers aren't missing anything when reading panel by panel on Comixology. They can switch between one form of reading and the other, and not miss anything.

You can find Bubble Zoom in the latest version of the Play Books Android app in Google Play.

Have you tried it? What do you think?

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

3 Comments

  1. MWorrell21 July, 2016

    Sometimes you just need to zoom in on the art. When you read a comic, you look at the full page, then you focus in on each panel, then you look at the full page again. That’s what Comixology’s guided reading feature does, and it’s the best of both worlds. I don’t see the Google version as an improvement.

    Reply
  2. Scott22 July, 2016

    Looks an awful lot like the pop-ups in Kindle Kids books or B&N’s ePIBs.

    Reply
  3. Jürgen Schulze25 July, 2016

    Reading Comics on displays smaller than an ipad still sucks und will always suck

    Reply

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