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Google's Bubble Zoom lets you read comics on your phone without compromises

Reading comics on your smartphone can be excruciating. That is, until now. Bubble Zoom lets you zoom in on just the texts with a simple tap on the screen.

Published onJuly 22, 2016

google bubble zoom

San Diego Comic-Con 2016 is officially in full swing and will continue throughout this weekend, and Google has a few surprises in store for all the comic book lovers out there.

Whether you’re reading the latest Avengers or Superman, comic book experience on smartphones or small tablets can be excruciating.

Last year, Google tried to solve the problem by introducing a vertical scrolling feature in Google Play Books so that you could easily scroll through panels with quick vertical swipes in landscape mode. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t all that useful.

Google is introducing something new this year called Bubble Zoom with the latest Google Play Books update, and it looks a lot more promising. Essentially, using the same machine learning technology found in Google Photos that lets you search for a specific animal or location in your album, Bubble Zoom recognizes texts and speech bubbles and zooms in on them.

From the official video, it seems as though Bubble Zoom only zooms in on texts based on its recognition of speech bubble shapes, so it’d be interesting to see whether Bubble Zoom will recognize texts that are not enclosed in speech bubbles.

As Google puts it, “Bubble Zoom expands the speech bubbles of a comic one-tap-at-a-time, making them super easy to read on your mobile device.” That means there is no more compromising the full-page experience: no more zooming in and out and no more panning around panels. Simply tap on the right or press a volume key.

The Play Books update has already started rolling out as a technical preview for selected comic books that support Bubble Zoom, and you can test it out and provide some feedback. Google says that it hopes to eventually expand the service to all comics and manga.

To celebrate the introduction of Bubble Zoom, Google is also offering a 50% off sale on select DC Comics and Marvel comics in the Play Store with the code SDCC2016, for those who are interested.

Do you think Bubble Zoom will make reading comics on your smartphone much easier? Have you tested it out already? Let us know what you think in the comments below!