Back at CES, Google teased a new feature that allows the Google Assistant to read web pages aloud in more than 42 languages with just a simple voice command. Now Google’s Read It feature is finally ready to roll out.
In addition to being a big boon for accessibility or people trying to learn a new language, the Google Assistant’s Read It feature also boasts new, more natural-sounding speech technology with more expressive intonation, rhythm, and inflection. The goal for the GA team was to not only create a helpful tool, but to also make something that would make listening to text from news stories or recipes more enjoyable.
To activate Read It while browsing an article on an Android phone simply say “Hey Google, read it,” or “OK Google, read this page.” From there, the Google Assistant will begin reading the article aloud while also highlighting words as they are spoken in real-time and auto-scrolling down the page as needed. Users will also be able to choose between multiple voices and customise the Google Assistant’s speaking pace to best suit their needs.
For those that want to hear a story in another language, there will also be a translation menu in the Google Assistant so you can quickly switch to the language you want, with options including Spanish, Korean, Hindi and more.
On the back end, the Google Assistant doesn’t require websites to have any additional code or functionality for Read It to work. However, for developers who want to make things a bit easier, it’s possible to enable apps to read text aloud to users using Actions on Google. And for devs who would prefer to block the Google Assistant’s text-to-speech feature, they can add the nopagereadaloug tag to their webpage.
Unfortunately, there’s no word on when Read It will be available on iOS, Chrome OS, or even Chrome on the desktop, but for Android users, the Google Assistant’s new text-to-speech powers are slated to roll out live worldwide today.