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Google Home will now read your audiobooks to you

Google has added audiobook purchasing and streaming to Google Home and Google Play Books on Android, iOS, and the web.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Google now offers audiobook purchasing through the Google Play Store, allowing customers to stream books through the Google Home or Google Play Books on Android, iOS, and the web.
  • The move is meant to compete with Audible, owned by Amazon, which offers audiobooks through single purchases and a $14.95 monthly subscription service.

On Tuesday, Google announced the availability of audiobooks on Google Play, allowing customers to purchase and stream books through the Google Home or Google Play Books on Android, iOS, and the web.

The move will better help Google compete with Amazon in the smart speaker market. Amazon owns Audible, which offers audiobooks through single purchases and a $14.95 monthly subscription service. On Google Play, "you can buy a single audiobook at an affordable price, with no commitments," according to a blog post from Greg Hartrell, head of product management for Google Play Books. This could be a useful feature for professionals, who may want to catch up on a book in their field while travelling or commuting without committing to a subscription service.

Google customers can say "OK Google, read my book," to begin listening to an audiobook with the Google Assistant on their phone or Google Home speaker. Users can also ask questions, such as "OK Google, who is the author?" or make commands like "OK Google, stop playing in 20 minutes."

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (Tech Pro Research)

The audiobook service rolled out on Tuesday in 45 countries and nine languages. Google Assistant integration with audiobooks is available on Android phones and smart speakers globally in English right now, and will be coming soon to the Assistant on Android Auto in the US, according to the post.

The service also allows users to move from one device to another without losing their place in the audiobook, the post noted. For example, you can start your reading on Google Home, and then pick it up on the Google Play Books app on your phone.

"You can pick up where you left off no matter what device you're using, with the Assistant or the Google Play Books app—on Android, iOS, Chromecast, Android Wear, Android Auto or even your laptop," Hartrell wrote.

Google is currently offering 50% off first audiobook purchases. It remains to be seen if the move will help Google Home compete with Amazon Echo, which currently dominates the smart speaker market.

Also see

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Image: Google

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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