Think about how much you read on your phone every day: Catching up on the news, scanning a new recipe, finally reading the article that everyone is talking about. Some content may require a lot of text, which can be a barrier for people with some form of visual or reading difficulties, or want to read content in another language.
With this capability, Google wants to make it easier for you to consume long-form content on the web as audio. When a page is open in Chrome, including AMP, all you have to say is, “Hey Google, read this page,” or, “Hey Google, read it,” to launch a new UI for this experience. Compared to third-party apps, there’s no long process requiring you to first save and download a page.
The full article is shown up top and will auto scroll, while controls for play/pause, 10-second rewind, and 30-second skip are docked below. A scrubbable timeline provides a length estimate, while there’s the ability to slow down or speed up from .5x to 3x, just like podcasts.
Other customizations include choosing from four voices (Lime, Jungle, Royal, and Sapphire), while there’s real-time translation to your preferred language. At launch, 42 are supported with Google creating text-to-speech that’s suited to long-form content by accounting for stress, intonation, and rhythm.
You don’t have to remain on the fullscreen player, but you can in order to see what’s being read aloud highlighted live, thanks to a standard media playback notification available for quick offscreen control.
Site owners do not have to do anything to let Google Assistant read a page, but they can block content with a nopagereadaloud tag. This feature is rolling out starting today and will be available for Android 5.0 and above around the world.
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