Yes, Google has been making efforts into so many different consumer markets to get mainstream users engaged in their gigantic “GOOGLE ECO-SYSTEM”. The Google Play Books Audio books offering is one of the recent efforts. First of all, we should give credits when the credit is due. Google has done great jobs on the digital books turf. The Google Play Books is (and the only if there is one) “THE” competitor of Amazon’s Kindle (digital) offerings. Sure, the title selections aren’t as many as Amazon’s monster size selections but compared with others (just take a glance at Apple iBooks and we bet you will agree with our point of view), Google is the one who might be able to challenge Amazon’s domination if there are any possibilities left. Although Google Play Books’ audio books offerings were starting nicely with a good enough size of selections, great promotions, and nice user interface, the audio format hasn’t been sailing that well on one area though.
Great Start with Audio Offerings
1) Good Size Of Selections
First of all, it’s Google so … we shouldn’t expect anything less than “GREAT”. On the selection side, they really did a decent job before they launch their audio books service. You can find all sorts of popular titles including “Ready Player One” and “11/22/63: A Novel (by Stephen King)” right from its launch date.
2) Competitive Pricing
Not only the pricing is competitive compared with Audible.com or audiobooks.com but you can find promotions constantly offered by Google when you logged into your account. Often that you not only can get a “free” audio book but also purchase another one for half of the price.
3) Streaming From Everywhere
Just like Audible.com, Google Play Books offers the same feature which allows their users to stream audio books from a browser, from android device, or from an iOS device as long as they logged in their account and connected to the Internet. And … of course, Google Play Books will smartly pick up where you left and to start with your streaming.
What Not So Good & It’s Vital for Success
The streaming part is very very good… don’t get us wrong… however, sometimes we are in an environment which do not have good Internet connections what so ever… therefore, it’s vital for users to be able to download contents onto the device and just play those contents right from the devices. However, this isn’t the case on Google Play Books though (at least not the case for us). We have been trying to download “11/22/63: A Novel” for over couple weeks but still not be able to do so. Maybe there is a setting somewhere needed to be modified or something. The point here is that it should be as simple (to the level of dumbness) as possible to let users get this type of jobs done (Downloading to your devices without any other extra actions required). Again… it’s not happening still after couple of weeks. Therefore, each and every single time we need to just stream from the cloud. Well… it’s not that annoying if the connections are good but most of the time we listen to audio books when we go to the gym to do some workouts. Unfortunately, we don’t have good connections at that location so … it’s really getting to a madness level that we would just purchase another one from Audible.com or Audiobooks.com and just forget about Google Play Books all together.
Additions are always good if the additional offerings can cover the very basics (e.g., make users’ lives EASIER … NOT HARDER). Therefore, Google Play Books had (still has… since … again… it’s Google) a great chance in this arena and they really had a very good start. If they can solve this issue (not only relating to the downloading… we believe that there are other issues if they failed to deliver this simple downloading tasks… there should be other areas that they haven’t been able to cover too) which is to make users lives simpler not harder, they really stand a chance to fight for another day in the Audio books playground.
Additions are always good if the additional offerings can cover the very basics – Making Users’ Lives Easier Not Harcer