Google began rolling out an audio book service on Tuesday that allows consumers to buy one book or subscribe to a service that will become available in 45 countries and nine languages.
The books -- offered through Google Play Books and on devices like Google Assistant and Google Home -- will enable consumers to upload and listen to an audio book at home, on the go with an Android or iOS device, and, perhaps, in a car equipped with Google Assistant.
At CES in Las Vegas, Google announced that Google Assistant is coming to Android Auto, which is available in more than 400 car models from more than 40 brands including Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo.
Book lovers can listen to the story without a subscription on Google Play, where they can buy one audio book, or build a family library to share with others. Free previews of the books are available to make certain it's a book of interest.
Google already offers thousands of digitized books to read for free as part of its worldwide library partnership. Each book includes an About This Book page. Those out of copyright are displayed in full view, allowing the reader to view any page from the book.
The new audio book service pits Google directly in competition with Amazon's Audible service. Audible, however, doesn't allow single book purchases, but rather requires a subscription service of nearly $15 monthly.
Although Google's ebook business began in 2010, only one person can typically read the book at one time. Audio books can entertain many at once and can travel from the home to the car or the gym and can digitally be heard through a variety of speakers.
Overall, in 2018, 56 million smart speakers will ship globally, estimates Canalys, a technology market analyst firm. Amazon and Google are expected to remain the leaders with their Echo and Home devices, respectively.
Knowing the types of books someone reads can tell a marketer a lot about a person and provide greater insight into targeting an advertisement.
Take for example, Manish Bhatia's choice to read "The End of Advertising: Why It Had to Die, and the Creative Resurrection to Come" by Andrew Essex. The CEO of North America at Kantar Media, a WPP company, said that in the book Essex describes how advertising has always been highly disruptive.