Google’s new audiobook features could help make it the best service available

Google is improving the audiobook experience. The company added audiobook features to Google Play only a few months ago, but now its added a few new features to the system that should help make listening to audiobooks through Google a whole lot easier.

There are four new features that should be helpful, including support for Google Assistant‘s routines, better speed controls, and more — and they should be rolling out to Android, iOS, and other Google Assistant-enabled devices like Google Home.

First up is Smart Resume, which is aimed at more fluidly resuming the playback of your audiobook. Sometimes, you need to pause your audiobook — and that may happen in the middle of a sentence. Instead of continuing from that exact point, Smart Resume rewinds to the beginning of a word or sentence, helping remind you of exactly what’s going on in the book.

Next up is Bookmarks. Bookmarks, as the name suggests, allows you to save your favorite moments from an audiobook in the Google Play app. If you’re listening on an Android or iOS device, you can easily tap on the bookmarks button to save that moment.

The third new feature is support for Routines, in the Google Assistant app, which allows you to incorporate the reading of an audiobook into your routines. The example Google gives is that you could create a routine for your commute to work that would tell you about traffic, tell you about events on your calendar, and then start playing an audiobook — all without you having to take your hands off the wheel.

Last but not least, is improved speed control. Now, you can speed up the reading of your audiobook to up to three times as fast, or slow it down to as little as half-speed.

Google also announced it is expanding its ebook and audiobook family sharing to 13 new countries, including the likes of Belgium, Germany, Italy, and more.

The new features show that Google is serious about audiobooks — and could contribute to a growing threat against services like Audible. Sure, Audible is a beloved service, but for die-hard Android users who regularly use Google Assistant, the ability to integrate that functionality into their routine and control it intelligently may be enough to jump over to Google.

Mobile

Hey Google, why did you kill off Allo, your best messaging app in years?

Allo, Google's messaging app, has shut down. I convinced my closest friends and family to switch to the app two-and-a-half years ago when it debuted, and we've been using it since. With its death, I'm feeling pain and sadness.
Home Theater

Pandora now lets you mess with the secret sauce for its music playlists

Pandora introduced a new feature called Modes, allowing subscribers to pick between six different algorithms that determine what the popular music streaming service will decide to play.
Gaming

Google’s Stadia lets you stream big-time games from nearly any device

At GDC 2019, Google unveiled Stadia, a game streaming service that lets you play games on PC, tablets, smartphones, and TVs. Stadia looks to open up gaming to everyone, removing the need to buy additional hardware.
Mobile

Here are our favorite features in Google’s first Android Q beta

Google has released the first beta for Android Q, and with it a number of great new features -- including faster sharing, better control over permissions like location, and more. Here are our top five favorite new features in Android Q.
Home Theater

What year is this? Apple might drop a new iPod tomorrow

After two days of surprise hardware releases that have brought us new iPads and iMacs, rumor has it that we may see an update of Apple's iPod as soon as tomorrow, sparking a mixture of nostalgia and curiosity.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Cars

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Cars

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Gaming

Here’s all the news from the Google Stadia GDC presentation

Google announced its new game streaming service Stadia during GDC 2019. Here is all the news from the event, including news on YouTube streaming and quickly accessing your favorite new games.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 teaser proclaims it's almost feeding time in Hawkins

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Computing

Yes, Apple’s new iMacs look great, but they do have one glaring problem

With processors ranging up to the eight-core Core i9, the 2019 iMac update looks like a pretty solid upgrade to Apple's classic all-in-one. But hidden in the details of the product page, there's one outdated component Apple is holding onto.
Movies & TV

In the new Hellboy clip, a giant problem leaves our favorite demon unimpressed

Hellboy is returning to the big screen in April 2019, with Stranger Things actor David Harbour taking on the title role. Here's everything we know so far about the reboot of the franchise.