I often go on small little hunts through all of Google’s services looking for new and exciting features. One of my favorite apps in the company’s entire ecosystem is Google Play Books. Last night, I noticed a new red dot at the top right of the web app interface overlaying the cogwheels icon for the settings menu.
AI-powered book recommendations
Upon clicking it, I was pleasantly surprised by a new AI-powered book recommendations beta feature that I was able to toggle on! As you can see in the screenshot below, doing so and refreshing the interface reveals a Bard-like sparkle icon at the top of each of your bookshelves.
This new “Get recommendations” button utilizes artificial intelligence in order to find you books you may be interested in without you having to peruse the bookshelves on the Play Store for yourself. You’re free to do so, of course, but you have to admit, this is freaking awesome!
How to generate recommendations
As shown below, the pop up dialogue box reveals a small selection of about four to eight recommendations that are similar to the books on your shelf (you can also press the three dots ‘more’ options menu below any book or audiobook and use this tool to search for ideas closer to that specific title.
If you like what’s discovered by not-Bard or whatever Google is using to power this on the backend (I’m guessing a smaller model that’s more suited for the task), you can buy it on the spot, get a sample of it, or wishlist it.
Free samples the lazy way
Additionally, you can scroll to the bottom to generate a new set of recommendations, see an AI-powered description of what it generated and why, wishlist all of the items at the same time, or even grab all of the samples with one click!
Yep, you can literally click one button and add up to eight samples to your Play Books library at the same time. That in and of itself is a great feature and I’m glad to have it! I have to admit that trying to find books based on what I like simply by browsing the shelves curated by the Play Store team is usually a fruitless endeavor and I’m let down more often than not.
A great use case for AI
With this new beta feature though, I’ve already added about a hundred new book samples to my library, and I’ve even begun reading some of them. The more we have AI injected into Google’s products, my feelings are mixed. With something like this, it’s clearly a big win and a great use of the technology, but in other cases, I’m divided on how useful or practical it’s being implemented. Let me know in the comments if you’ve toggled this new feature on and if you’re using it. Drop a comment letting me know if it’s recommending great new reads for you or if it’s missing the mark!