Google Play Books appGoogle Play Books, still many ebook readers’ preferred EPUB reading app, has just upgraded to version 3.9. The most obvious change is to the app icon, which now sticks the old blue rectangular booklike thing inside a play button, consistent with the same motif that’s now appearing across many Google apps. Personally, I find this new design irritatingly unbooklike, but that’s me. Meanwhile, though, is there much new under the hood?

Well, as per the Google Play Store’s What’s New guidelines, “Read now highlights your books, and recommendations are easier to browse.” Furthermore, “Search remembers words you entered in previous searches” and “A notification now flags the arrival of new books by favorite authors.” Additionally, there sounds to have been some fine-tuning, as “Changes you make to display options are easier to see” and “Downloaded books open faster.”

So, no great leap forward in app capabilities and services to accompany the big jump in icon design – unlike, for instance, Google Play Music with its new podcast functionality. Google Play Books’ popularity is probably one sign that there’s no need to fix what ain’t broken. I do note, though, that some reviewers on the Google Play Store are also saying how they dislike the new icon. That’ll probably be a talking point until the next really significant upgrade comes along.


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