March 5, 2020
Google Assistant to read web pages aloud on some devices
"Hey Google, read this page."
That's a new command for the Google Assistant that will see the robot reading web pages aloud.
Use cases: catching on news that doesn't have a podcast component while driving, having pages translated to you in other languages (say if you're traveling) or just general help for people who are vision-impaired.
Fine print: The feature is only available, starting today, on Google's Android smartphone platform. It won't work with the Assistant app for iOS devices, nor on the many Google speakers. Google isn't giving a timeline for the other devices.
Whenever a web article is displayed on your browser in your Android phone, you can say, "Hey Google, read it" or "Hey Google, read this page" it will immediately read aloud the content of the web page," says Yossi Matias, a Google vice-president. "And to help people follow along at a convenient pace without having to touch the screen, your browser will highlight the words being read out and auto-scroll the page. To customize the read-aloud experience, you can choose from multiple voices and alter the reading speed at your preference."
The feature can translate the web page "in real-time" to more than 42 languages. Google says it has leveraged advancements in text-to-speech technology to "enable more expressive and more natural sounding voices" by factoring in intonation and rhythm.
Websites won't need to do anything special to enable the feature, Google says.
Android users who want to check it out will need Android 5.0 or higher, and to have the latest Assistant software update, which is pushed out automatically.
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