What you need to know
- New opt-in beta program gives you early access to experimental Play Books features.
- Custom shelves, granular searching and "Ready to Read" shelf are the first features to roll out.
- Beta features are only available on the web at first, and will change regularly.
Google Play Books isn't the flashiest of Google's services, but many frequent readers rely on it to keep all of their books, audiobooks and comics in one place and synced across devices. And the engineers in Google working on Play Books are just as serious about reading — and that's why they're announcing a new beta program to let people get a look at the new features they're coming up with.
The new beta features are only for the web view of Play Books, but the hope is that after testing and getting feedback the cream of the crop could make it to the app. The beta program is launching today with three features, and many more to come:
- Custom Shelves: allows you to organize your library in a more useful and personal way.
- Searching and Sorting: this allows you to quickly search for a particular book or sort your library using different criteria.
- Ready to Read: a new shelf shows you the books you haven't finished yet to help you quickly pick up where you left off.
If you'd like to sign up for the Play Books beta features, you just have to visit the Play Books website — click the settings gear, and click "Beta Features" to get them immediately. You can choose to enable only the features you want to try, and later on when you want to send feedback on what's new you just head back to the settings.
Just like any other beta program, the Play Books beta features may come and go without much warning and could be missing polish or final testing quality. But that's part of the fun! Trying out new things ahead of the general public can be great, and you may find some awesome features that you'll come to rely on if they come to Play Books officially in the future.