Google has made it a lot easier to read digital comic books on your mobile device - and it did so using machine learning.
Google Play Books introduced vertical scrolling last year to help you better consume comic books, but Google obviously realised more handy features were needed in order to make reading illustrated panels even easier on phones and tablets, because it launched at this year's Comic-Con a new tool called Bubble Zoom, which automatically detects and zooms in on speech bubbles as you read.
Previously, when reading a digital comic book in Google Play Books on your mobile device, you had to use two fingers to zoom in and read speech bubbles, but now, thanks to Bubble Zoom, you can enlarge those speech bubbles with a single tap. But the best part is your page will remain at full-screen view. Google explained how Bubble Zoom works via a blog post:
"We wanted to use our superpowers, like machine learning, to improve the digital comics experience even further. Machine learning is the technology that makes the digital things in your life more useful, like finding the right image in Google Photos by searching for 'hugs' to 'dogs.' So what happens when we bring our machine learning capabilities to the world of comics?
"We just announced Bubble Zoom: a new way to read digital comics on phones and tablets. Using the same technology to recognize objects in photos, we trained our system to identify speech bubbles in comics. Bubble zoom expands the speech bubbles of a comic one-tap-at-a-time, making them super easy to read on your mobile device. It’s much easier to read digital comics one-handed as Bubble Zoom automatically identifies and expands each speech bubble for readability. No more compromising the full-page experience or getting lost while panning."
Google also published a video - below - to discuss how it used machine learning for Bubble Zoom. Apart from Bubble Zoom, Google Play Books is adding a feature for those of you reading one-handed on your phone; you can use the volume buttons to toggle back and forth. Bubble Zoom is available on the latest version of Google Play Books app for Android, as a technical preview, initially.
All Marvel and DC collected volumes are supported. Also, to celebrate these new features, Google is offering a 50-per cent off sale on select DC Comics and Marvel comics in the Google Play Store. Just use the code SDCC2016 by 24 July.