Amazon goes social with new Kindle update

Amazon has confirmed that its upcoming Kindle software update will allow users to share book passages with friends on Facebook and Twitter “directly” from the device.

Other features expected in Kindle’s updated OS (2.5) include PDF pan and zoom, new fonts with “improved” clarity and password protection to lock idle Kindles.

Meanwhile, Charlie Sorrel of Wired’s Gadget Lab commented that the latest software update added both “useful and questionable” features to its  e-book reader.

“The new features fall into two categories: social, and not-stupid. The social features will let you share a passage via either Facebook or Twitter, and adds a new function called Popular Highlights, which lets you ‘See what the Kindle community thinks are the most interesting passages in the books you’re reading,'” wrote Sorrel.

“These seem to spoil the very reason I use the Kindle to read: lack of distraction. When I read on my iPod I’m all, like, ADD? The Kindle has until now been much more isolated and book-like.”

Version 2.5 of the Kindle OS is expected to be rolled out to a “limited group” of Kindle users, with a broad release scheduled for late May 2010.