Google Play Books had added vertical scrolling to comic books to make it easier for comic book enthusiasts to read their favorites. Now they’ve added a feature that’ll render that continuous zooming or squinting on your tablet or smartphone unnecessary. They’ve added bubble zoom. A feature that allows the speech bubbles in comics to grow in size so the text is much more visible. This way, reading 7″x10.5″ page on a 5 inch screen will be much easier and more welcome.
The feature works by expanding the bubbles one tap at a time. Google says that makes it super easy to read digital comics one handed. The machine learning involved here recognizes the speech bubbles in each comic and just enlarges them as opposed to zooming in on the page. There is also a sense of action as the bubble rises out of the page and then the next follows. It gives the sense of a story being told.
Any comic featuring bubble zoom will open with a small intro on how to use it. You can use your volume keys or tap on the right side or left side of the comic to enlarge bubbles just like you do to turn pages. Tapping on the next bubble will enlarge it and shrink the previous one to let the screen below be visible too and now get crowded by all the writing.
The announcement was made during the ongoing San Diego Comic Con. In this day and age, comics are hugely popular. With the recent boom in comic book movies and television series from Marvel and DC, comic book sales are bigger than ever with more and more people becoming fans and exploring both universes. So naturally, Google is currently only supporting bubble zoom on Marvel and DC but support for others such as Dark Horse comics and Japanese manga is coming. Google has said that they plan to put this feature in all comics and manga ever printed. The feature is only available on Android’s Google Play Books v3.9.37 but an iOS version will follow according to an article on arstechnica.
Google has also announced that it will be offering a 50% discount on select Marvel and DC comics on the Play Store until this Sunday, Jul 24th. You can only do this for two comics everyday so choose wisely. All you have to do is mention the code: SDCC2016 when you purchase.
Much Ado About Machine Learning
Google is marketing it’s machine learning technology for everything. There’s the self driving cars and the Google keyboard as well as the recent data it collected to make it’s data centers more evident and save on power bills. What it sometimes calls deep learning is basically a continuous feed back loop of data from hundreds and thousands of data points to ultimately make processes and software smarter. It could either lead to a terminator like scenario or save us a lot of wasted energy.