From improving the quality of their standard voice to adding regional accents, Google has made great strides in making computers sound more natural. Text-to-speech (first spotted by Android Police) has recently been updated to have multiple male and female voices.

There are not too many apps that take advantage of text-to-speech. Pocket is the only app that I use on a daily basis that has support for TTS on saved articles. Even Google Now’s voice is set independent of the text-to-speech engine. Furthermore, the setting to change the voice is deeply buried.

Users have to go to the Settings app > Language & input > Text-to-speech-output > gear icon next to Google Text-to-speech Engine > Install voice data. There users will find that each language, in addition to the main voice, has three male and female variants. Some languages (like UK English) have more than one voice set, which are under 10MBs in size. Users can tap the play icon to hear sample text.

In apps that support TTS, there is no interface to change voice variants. Users can only set one default in the main TTS settings. However, I have noticed that voice variants will change on the fly. The options are nice and I’m sure people in different countries will appreciate hearing something a bit more natural.

Version 3.8 of the app is rolling out now.