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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.

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