The Play Books app has a special affinity for comic books with a number of features meant to improve the reading experience on mobile devices. Announced as part of Comic-Con, Bubble Zoom uses machine learning to magnify text bubbles in digital comics. Users can test this out now on select Marvel and DC volumes.
Reading digital comics on phones is especially inconvenient because it requires zooming in to read text bubbles and therefore a lot of swiping to pan around. With Bubble Zoom, the Play Books app automatically recognizes text bubbles and will enlarge them with a tap. This way users can still enjoy full-page artwork without squinting to read tiny text.
Google notes that the feature uses the same machine learning technology used to recognize objects in photos, but instead trained to identify speech bubbles in comics. The previous attempt to make digital comic reading easier was through a landscape mode in Play Books that allowed users to swipe through each pane.
Bubble Zoom is currently still a technical preview available in the latest version of the Play Books app for Android. It will only work on select Marvel and DC collected volumes — currently 50% off to celebrate the preview with code SDCC2016. Google hopes to eventually expand Bubble Zoom to all digital comics and manga in the future.