Google Play Books now supports audiobooks with Google Assistant support, allowing users to enjoy audiobooks on a variety of devices, including the Google Home smart speaker. The move is understood to be an attempt to take on Amazon which owns popular audiobook service Audible. Google's new audiobooks are rolling out in 45 countries worldwide and support nine languages. Users will be able to buy them from the Google Play Store, with some offerings being eligible for discounts. Audiobooks generally retail for between $7 to $15, but Google is offering 50 percent off one's first purchase, as well as some other hefty price cuts to sweeten the deal. The 50 percent off deal ends on February 26. Users who sign up for it have to redeem it by March 1.
The company claims that having audiobooks on the Google Play Store can add more value to the time spent waiting in lines, stuck in traffic, or working out. The Google Play Books platform makes audiobooks available across Android, the web, and iOS, as well as devices with the Google Assistant, such as the Google Home smart speaker lineup. Unlike Amazon's Audible, which costs $15 per month and offers one free audiobook and some other benefits, Google has not implemented any subscription plans. Google is expected to expand its offerings in time, both in terms of content and support languages, as well as markets.
Those who have a Google Home smart speaker can now start listening to audiobooks by simply telling their gadget to play them. To get things started, purchase the audiobook you want to play from the Google Play Store using the same account for the purchase as the one set on your Google Home. Google allows users to speak a number of commands to start listening to audiobooks, pause it, skip to the next chapter, find out how much there is left of the book, and more. To start listening to an audiobook, just say "OK, Google, read [book title]." To go to another chapter, say "OK, Google, previous/next chapter." To stop it, just say "OK, Google, stop." To check if it's nearly done, ask "OK, Google, how much time is left?" Users can also ask the speaker to stop playing the audiobook after a set amount of time or ask who wrote the book, as well as find out more information about it by simply speaking to their digital assistant.