Google introduces text-to-speech feature on its Go search app

Google is back again with its new feature for its lightweight Go search app. The feature is: text-to-speech reading for websites. Google has focused on developing countries, where the improvement of web could make users feel web more accessible. So, for that, Google has specially designed this feature. This feature can read any site aloud at the touch of a button.

No doubt it is powered by the Google’s AI, but it is lightweight enough to function over a 2G connection. Using AI, the app can automatically determine the most important parts of a web page. So, it will only read certain sections and leave the rest. For example, if you are reading a cooking blog, you don’t have to listen to author’s biography before reaching the recipe itself.

Google’s approach for future users

Google launched Go in the last year in India and Indonesia as a part of growing suite of Google products. The focus here is to capture next billions of internet users. India is the world’s second largest country using internet. Every year, around 40 million new users come online. This is not just a small number. Google believes that Text-to-speech will make the web more accessible for new users. Also, it will help people who do not prefer text at all.

According to the report of “The Wall Street Journal”, users in developing country often avoid text and reading. They generally prefer sharing voice messages and images. Voice recognition is useful to navigate the web without typing. But, text-to-speech could be useful to understand the content present on the web without reading.

The new feature will initially support 28 languages, including commonly spoken languages in India: Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil, and Gujarati. In total, India identifies 22 languages officially. The feature not only speaks aloud words on the page, but also highlights them as it speaks them. So, if you are learning a new language, you can use this as a learning tool. You can also adjust the playback speed using options available with the feature.

Android Go was specially designed for affordable phones having most basic specs. So, it is obvious that such devices will feature very tiny screens. This feature can make it easier for users to understand written content in the way one would listen to audio.

Verdict

Google believes this feature makes understanding long-form text as easy as listening to the radio or watching TV. This feature also helpful in multitasking where you can cook a meal while it reads out a recipe. You can listen to news, articles, blogs, etc. while exercising, gyming, walking, or even sleeping. Also, it is very beneficial for students who learn their study-notes online. Alas! The feature is not available directly in the main Google search app.

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