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Google’s Bubble Zoom uses AI to make comics easier to read

by Jacob Kleinman | July 24, 2016July 24, 2016 3:00 pm PDT

Google’s invested a ton of money and energy into artificial intelligence, and it’s really starting to pay off. Now the company is even using machine learning to improve the experience of reading comic books on your phone.

A new update for Google Play Books on Android introduces Bubble Zoom. The new feature lets you expand any word bubble by simply tapping on it. That makes it easy to read an entire page without needing to zoom in on each panel and then swipe around.

To pull this off Google used the same object-recognition software that powers other apps like Google Photos. The machine learning technology can spot specific objects, whether that’s a dog or a word bubble. So Google knows when you’re tapping on text to zoom in and when you’re just resting your finger on the display.

You can grab the update now for Android, though it only works with a select list of Marvel and DC comics at the moment. The company says it eventually wants Bubble Zoom to support ever comic and manga in the world, but that could take a while. There’s also no word on an iOS version of the same feature, but hopefully that’s in the works as well.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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