I love Google Play Books. In fact, outside of Google Keep, the company’s Books app is probably my favorite service. Anything related to note taking or reading is central to my daily life, and I think Google does a great job of both. Well, mostly. For years, your library’s Play Books website was hideous. At least it was for anyone who prefers the gorgeous Material You designs that have taken over lately.
Literally on the first of January, I discussed a bunch of improvements the web app could make this year, and lo and behold, changes are on the way! The biggest thing I was hoping for was a complete overhaul of the Library interface, and while the Play Store itself received an overhaul in Thailand and Korea, your books are still redirected to the older version of the site.
Now, as I had hoped, the PWA for Google Play Books on the web now matches the rest of the 10th anniversary Play Store redesign, and I couldn’t be happier! This means that those of us who have ever struggled with slow Android app usage on our Lenovo Chromebook duo or any other older device just to read a book or listen to an audiobook will no longer have that problem because we can now just load the browser and navigate to it!
Although we don’t have the nice carousel of recently read books at the top like the Android app does, and your shelves are left-aligned instead of on a separate top navigation, the clean and beautiful look of the mobile app with its rounded corners and drop shadows are now in the foreground. For those wondering what I’m complaining about, take a look at the older version of the library just below.
The experience of reading and listening to your content was refined and made quite smooth over a year ago, so it’s great that the whole user experience is now following suit. Oh, and you don’t have to press the little arrow at the bottom of the book you’re reading anymore to go to the next page, the swipe will mimic a page turn (but without that smooth paper animation) like it does on your phone.
With Google Keep, News, Cursive, YouTube and now Play Books being not only available but enough replacements for Android apps on ChromeOS, I went ahead and uninstalled the Play Store itself from my Duet to save RAM and storage. It’s now smooth to use for reading books and taking notes, and I’ll sleep easy tonight knowing that I don’t need to update my Chromebook tablet yet. Now, if we could just get a Play Books icon for the PWA instead of the generic store image, that would complete the redesign.