Google Play Books Launches Bubble Zoom

Google Bubble Zoom Iron Man

One of the reasons ComiXology took off the way it did in the field of digital comics was its Guided View approach (trademarked and patent pending). Turning on Guided View allowed a comic to be shown panel-by-panel instead of a page at a time, which would be too hard to read on smaller screens.

Now, Google Play Books has announced a competing technology: Bubble Zoom. Instead of focusing on the panel, it uses machine learning to zoom into speech balloons to blow up the “bubble” of text. They say, “Bubble Zoom automatically identifies and expands each speech bubble for readability.” Here’s an animation that demonstrates it:

Google Bubble Zoom

Bubble Zoom is only available for Marvel and DC collected volumes in English right now on the latest version of the Google Play Books app for Android. The goal is “to eventually bring Bubble Zoom to all the comics and manga ever made.” That’s a good idea, since readers keep aging as devices shrink.

Now the only problem is those who are annoyed by calling them “bubbles”. I admit, I like the sound of “Balloon Zoom” better.



One comment

  • Oscar Wilkes

    I bought a Nexus 10 a couple years back specifically to read comics and it was the only tablet with a suitable screen size and resolution. I’ve seen comics on iPads etc. and it seems frustrating to me to have to constantly zoom in. This is a neat idea – and more respectful of the artist/s – but I still say just buy a tablet with a decent size screen.

    I haven’t really kept up to date with latest models of tablets but it might make for an interesting article :)

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