Google today is launching a new feature for Google Books which aims to offer a better challenge to Amazon’s Kindle app when it comes to helping you find new things to read. Called “Discover,” this new section in the Google Books application will help point users to new content, including both personalized suggestions as well as other recommendations based on what’s currently popular with the wider community.
Amazon, of course, has historically offered personalized recommendations in Kindle’s software as well as across its website. In its Kindle app, Amazon highlights books you may want to read based on your prior shopping history.
Google Books’ recommendations will work much in the same way. The company says it will offer up new stories based on what you read on Google Books. However, it will also automatically suggest books that are mentioned in an article or mentioned in a video you watch, elsewhere in the app – like in the new “Weekly Highlights” section.
This section within Discover will round up the most important news, reviews and videos of the week, says Google, while another new section called “Google Play Editorial” will point readers to other original content beyond books, including interviews with authors, essays from writers, other book selections from book reviewers and critics.
For comparison’s sake, Amazon’s “Book Browser” is the primary way Kindle mobile app users would find new content, but it’s more of a categorical listing of books. For example, beyond the suggestions powered by your shopping history, the app may showcase things like “Books with Narration,” or “Trending Now” selections, but not much more. Other book categories are found at the bottom of the screen, but only as standard navigation.
Meanwhile, Amazon has largely failed to capitalize on its Goodreads acquisition as a means of adding a more social experience when it comes to discovery and recommendations. In fact, the Kindle app’s latest update just oddly crammed a tiny “Goodreads” button on top of the “All Items” screen, so you can tap to see updates from that network.
Being able to combine shopping and a book-reading community is the larger goal with the Google Books update. The idea is to make Google Books’ e-bookstore not just a straightforward utility for consuming content on your mobile device, but also a way to help connect people to a wider literary community while also potentially boosting ebook sales.
Google Books today offers over 5 million books, notes the company, which makes its storefront competitive with both Amazon and Kobo alike, which offer roughly the same number of titles.