On January 23, Google announced a new feature for its voice-controlled Assistant: the ability to read audiobooks. After purchasing and downloading an audiobook from Google Play, users can play it with Google Assistant.
As explained by ArsTechnica, Google hasn’t sold audiobooks through its Play store until now. Users could buy traditional e-books through the platform, but they couldn’t buy audiobooks. That has since changed, however, as Google Play now offers thousands of audiobooks to users in 45 countries.
Like Apple iTunes, audiobooks on Google Play are available to download with no subscription required. Once a user has purchased an audiobook, he or she can play it for an indefinite amount of time. Best of all, compatible Android devices with Google Assistant will play audiobooks for users.
So, how does Google Assistant’s new audiobook playback feature work? Using either Google Home or an Android-compatible smartphone or tablet, users can say, “Ok Google, read my book [insert book name here]” to play their audiobook. Users can even instruct Google Assistant to stop playing the audiobook after a fixed length of time. Saying, “Ok Google, stop playing in 15 minutes,” for instance, will stop the audiobook in 15 minutes.
To promote this new feature, Google has slashed prices for some of its top-selling audiobooks, including “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” “The Hate U Give,” “Why Not Me” and “Ready Player One.” Furthermore, the Mountain View company is offering new customers 50 percent off their first audiobook.
Google has worked aggressively to improve its voice-controlled Assistant technology in recent months. In addition to audiobook playback, the search engine giant also announced support for individual Netflix profiles. In other words, you can connect individual Netflix user profiles to Android accounts. Google Assistant will then access content, including your watch list, from your profile through voice commands. These are just a ways that Google is enhancing its Assistant technology.