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Google Play Books Gets Discover Feature for Better Book Recommendations

Google Play Books Gets Discover Feature for Better Book Recommendations
  • It will surface books mentioned in articles
  • You get samples from books mentioned in videos you watch
  • A weekly digest will recap the most important stories about books

Google Play Books is rolling out a new feature that claims to offer better reading recommendations. The feature is called Discover and is rolling out to Android, iOS, and the Web in 75 countries. Amazon's Kindle ebook service has had personalised recommendations for a long time now, but Google Play Books tries to go beyond just recommending books.

Discover will surface books mentioned in an article while you're reading. If a book is being made into a movie or if there are other stories around the book that Google's algorithms determine you should read, then the app will suggest that you read them too.

There's more to it too. While watching a video or reading an article, Discover will pull out books mentioned in them. This will allow you to quickly read a sample or even buy the books should you wish to.

Another new feature is called Weekly Highlights. This appears to be Google's take on a newsletter that lets you quickly catch up with all the important stories of the week about the books you're interested in. Google claims this takes into account trusted sources, which suggests that you won't be bombarded with sub-par articles.

Finally, the company has also launched Google Play Editorial where it will showcase things like author interviews, essays by your favourite authors, and help you find better books to read.

All of these features sound like good additions to the Google Play Books service but the big challenge remains competing with Amazon in the ebook market. Amazon offers integration with Goodreads - arguably the world's most popular social network for bibliophiles. Sadly the integration isn't really what it should be. It doesn't go beyond a small button in the Kindle app and even on Amazon's ebook readers the integration doesn't offer more than basic book recommendations.

Google hopes to leverage its algorithms to help you find better books and fill the gaps left by Amazon's ebook service. However, will this be enough to make people switch over? Perhaps not, but it could make more people use Google Play Books.


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Further reading: Google Play, Google Play Books
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