I love Google Play Books. In fact, outside of Google Keep, the company’s books app is probably my favorite service it provides. Anything related to note taking or reading are core to my daily life, and I think Google does a great job at both. Well, mostly. For years now, the Play Books website for your library was hideous. At least, it was for anyone who prefers the gorgeous Material You designs that have been taking over as of late.
Literally on the first of January, I discussed a bunch of improvements that the web app could make this year, and lo and behold, changes are afoot! The biggest thing I hoped for was a complete overhaul of the library interface, and while the Play Store itself received a redesign in Thailand and Korea, your books still redirected to the old version of the site.
Now, just 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 previously struggled through the slowdown of using Android apps on our Lenovo Chromebook duet or any older device just to read a book or listen to an audiobook will no longer have this issue as we can now just load up the browser and get to it!
While we don’t have the beautiful carousel of recently read books at the top like the Android app does, and your shelves are aligned to the left instead of on a separate top navigation, the clean, gorgeous look of the mobile app with its rounded corners and drop shadows are now front and center. For those wondering what the heck I’m complaining about, take a look at the old version of the library just below.
The reading and listening experience for your content was refined and made to look pretty slick over a year ago, so it’s great that the entire user experience is now following suit. Oh, and you no longer have to tap the itsy bitsy arrow at the bottom of the book you’re reading to move to the next page, swiping will mimic a page turn (albeit without that slick paper animation) just like it does on your phone.
With Google Keep, News, Cursive, YouTube, and now Play Books being not only available, but sufficient replacements for Android apps on ChromeOS, I went ahead and uninstalled the Play Store itself from my Duet to save on RAM and storage. Using it is now buttery smooth for reading books and notetaking, and I’ll rest easy knowing that I don’t necessarily need to upgrade 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.