Mobile Apps

How to use the new skim feature in Google Play Books

The latest update for Google's Book reading app brings a skim feature that helps you find what you're looking for, faster.

Google Play Books makes keeping your place in a novel, textbook or cookbook easy with its sync feature. And the option to place bookmarks and look up words, it's a useful app for doing research or studying. However, one major advantage of physical, paper books is being to flip through the pages when you're looking for something specific, or just an interesting picture illustrating a recipe.

Until now, the only ways to flip through an ebook using Play Books were to swipe page by page, or skip around in chunks by dragging the page navigation bar. The most recent update allows you to skim through pages and and easily skip between bookmarks while using this mode. Here's how to use it:

First, make sure you have the most recent version of Google Play Books (the update is rolling out in stages.) You can easily identify the newest version by the app's icon, which should be a closed book with a white bookmark hanging over the top edge. If your is an open book, you can check Google Play for an update, or install it manually from AndroidPolice's APKMirror website.

Step 1: Now that you're on the correct version, open a book you want to skim through. I'll use a cookbook as an example.

Step 2: Tap the middle of a page, and you'll enter skim mode. Slide right and left to move through the pages in the book, as if you're flipping through it.

Google Play Books' skim feature Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 3: After you add a bookmark or 10, you can easily skip through to them. A small dot on the navigation bar indicates a bookmark at that location, and the skimming will "catch" when passing one of these dots.

Now you'll be able to find what you're looking for, or skip between previous bookmarks faster than ever. What do you think of the newest feature? Share your thoughts in the comments.