Google is launching Audiobooks through its online store, making its smart speakers and virtual assistant more competitive with Amazon.com's Echo devices and Alexa voice assistant.
Listening to audiobooks is among the most popular nighttime uses for smart speakers, a burgeoning type of home appliance that provides audio streams of music, news and other data based on user commands to an embedded virtual assistant.
Google's Home speakers have lagged Amazon Echo in terms of audiobook features. Amazon-owned Audible, the top provider of audiobooks, has not been supported on Home and other speakers with Google Assistant.
Today Google is launching an audiobooks store. Rolling out today in 45 countries and nine languages, you can turn your time stuck in traffic, on the treadmill, or waiting in line into reading time.
According to Greg Hartrell, head of product management for Google Play Books, you can buy a single audiobook at an "affordable" price, with no commitments.
Audible offers one-off purchases, but promotes a $14.95 monthly subscription that includes one free download and 30 percent off further purchases.
Google-purchased audiobooks can be accessed through Google Play Books on the web, apps for Android and iOS devices or through Google Assistant in speakers, Android smartphones and soon cars with Android Auto.