Bonnie Cha

Recent Posts by Bonnie Cha

Google Play Books Update Adds Geographical Lookup, Translations

Google is arming Android users with more tools to enhance their reading experience with an updated version of its Google Play Books application.

The most interesting feature of the update is the ability to get more information about a geographic location. Now you can tap on the name of a country, city or region, and the app will display a small information card with the location pinned on Google Maps and the option to search Google or Wikipedia for more details.

I gave it a quick whirl, selecting a reference to the Arctic Ocean in Tom Avery’s “To the End of the Earth,” and the feature worked as advertised. Sadly, it does not recognize fictional places like Mordor from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy — I tried.

The app also now offers in-text definitions and — c’est magnifique! — translations for more than 50 languages, including French, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese. You can mark your e-books with notes and highlights, as well, and all will be synced across your various devices.

The Google Play Books update is available now.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work