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Google’s Bubble Zoom could finally win you over to digital comic books

There are so many mediums where digital just isn’t the same as the real thing. For example, putting on a record will always beat streaming an album, while reading a newspaper with a pint beats flicking through a webpage on your phone.

There are countless examples, but perhaps the most stark is the experience is when one attempts to swap physical comic books for the digital equivalent. Quite frankly, it sucks.

Thankfully, Google has come to the rescue with a super heroic new feature for Play Books that’ll make it easier to read comic books without compromising the artwork.

The Bubble Zoom feature, revealed at the ongoing San Diego Comic-Con, makes use of Google’s Machine Learning skills to identify speech and thought bubbles and establish text.

This enables readers to tap the bottom of the screen or a volume button to enlarge the bubbles while still enjoying the full page artwork and juxtaposition between panels.

“When you chop up a comic with a panel to panel navigation, you’re taking a little part of a beautiful whole, hoping you get the entire experience from that and you just can’t,” says Addy Beavers, UX designer for Play Books.

I feel we’re being respectful to the art form and respectful to the readers,” she added.

Related: Google Home: Everything you need to know

The magic is all down to Machine Learning, which powers things like Google’s image recognition software. It identifies texts, shapes, objects and images and the power is now probably the best reason to buy digital comics from Google.

Check out Bubble Zoom, which works on all collected Marvel and DC volumes, in the video below.

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