Audiobooks Come to Google Play for Android and Google Home
Rumor had it Google was working to bring audiobooks to Google Play, and the most recent version of the Google Play Books app contained code with references to settings for audiobooks. So it wasn’t surprising when Google announced on Tuesday that audiobooks are now available in the Google Play Store on Android and supported by Google Home devices. Starting today, they’re available in 45 countries and nine languages.
Google’s audiobook library is cross-platform across Android, iOS, and the web, as well as devices that support the Google Assistant, such as Google Home speakers. They don’t require a subscription — the audiobooks are available for purchase a la carte — and a free preview is available for each.
Audiobooks streamed from one device can be picked up on another — you can listen to an audiobook with Google Assistant on Google Home, for example, and continue listening through the Google Play Books app on Android, iOS, Chromecast, Android Wear, Android Auto, or a laptop. You can also share audiobooks with family members through the Play Store’s Family Library feature for no additional fee, even across multiple devices.
Google highlighted the audiobook’s unique Google Assistant shortcuts in today’s announcement. You’ll be able to say commands like, “OK Google, read my book”, to listen to audiobooks hands-free on a phone, tablet, or Google Home speaker. Other supported commands include, “OK Google, who is the author?” and “OK Google, stop playing in 20 minutes”.
Google says that Google Assistant integration with audiobooks is available on Android phones and smart speakers globally in English, and that it’ll come to the Assistant on Android Auto in the US soon.
With the addition of audiobooks, the Google Play Store has become more competitive with Amazon’s Appstore and Audible, but only time will tell which company ends up offering a better audiobook solution.