text-to-speech Stories February 12, 2016

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.

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text-to-speech Stories June 25, 2015

Google Translate will slow down its text-to-speech on second listen

Noticed by a tipster speaking to the (unofficial) Chrome Operating System blog, Google Translate, the multilingual translation tool, has a neat way of converting text translations to speech.

Translate’s text-to-speech function can be used on both the original text and the translated version of the inputted text, which can be helpful when you’re not quite sure how to pronounce a phrase out loud. But maybe you’re trying to get the pronunciation exactly as its spoken by the text-to-speech and you’re having trouble hearing it clearly. I know I’ve experienced that before. Interestingly, the team behind the product seems to have recognized this frustration and programmed the function to slow down its enunciation when you click “Listen” a second time for the same text. Clicking it a third time consecutively will enunciate at the original speed, however.

This seems like something that would be cool to be able to explicitly toggle on and off, rather than simply alternating like it does now. A nice detail nonetheless, however.

text-to-speech Stories May 27, 2014

Google this afternoon released a small update to its Text-To-Speech app on Android. The update bumps the app to version 3.1, and while it may not be the biggest update, it certainly packs some useful changes for a handful of users. The update adds support for selecting and speaking text in Polish, Dutch, and Russian. It also improves its already existing support for some English dialects spoken in India.

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

text-to-speech Stories March 6, 2014

Google has rolled out a massive update to its Text-to-Speech Android app that includes a variety of enhancements. The update, which began rolling out to devices yesterday evening, bumps the app to version 3.0. Most notably, this update improves the voice functionality and quality. While the voice was originally rather robotic and boring, this update makes it more fluent and realistic, much like Apple did with Siri in iOS 7. The updated voice is available in several languages and both male and female varieties, but each language and style runs about 200MB, so be sure you’re on WiFi when you download them. The voices are also now available in Portugese (Brazil), and Spanish (United States).

There are some issues with the new voices, however. Android Police notes that commands that contact the Google server for a reply, such as “what is 3+2”, still use the old robotic voice. Local questions, such as  “what is my next appointment”, do use the new voices, however.

The user interface has also been tweaked heavily. The voice management screen has been redesigned to show the size of each download, as well as detailed information about the voice.

The update is rolling out gradually on Google Play, so be sure to keep an eye on the Play Store for it to hit your device.

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text-to-speech Stories July 17, 2013

Chrome for iOS adds support for opening links in Google apps, voice & text-to-speech enhancements, fullscreen iPad, & data cost savings

Google has just issued a big update to its Chrome app for iPhone and iPad that brings new “interoperability with other Google Apps” and a number of other notable features. That means that you’ll now be able to open all links for YouTube, Maps, Google+ and Drive in their native apps instead of in the browser.

The update also brings enhancements to the newly introduced voice search capabilities, including: always visible controls from the toolbar and text-to-speech support for “all variations of English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, Japanese, and Korean.”

Other improvements in today’s update include fullscreen support on iPad, easier access to browser history, and, according to Google, data cost savings:

Reduce data usage and speed up page load times.  View data savings in Bandwidth Management settings. This feature is being rolled out and will be available to all users over time.

Google explained the experimental data cost savings feature in a whitepaper when it was first introduced on Android. Google said its tests showed the feature will reduce data usage by up to 50%:

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