On Aug 28, Google added a new feature to the light version of their search app – Go. Go is now capable of virtually reading any website content to the user. It can read the text in more than twenty four languages, making it usable for lots of people.
This feature is added to serve those people who like to listen to news stories, long-form articles, and other similar website content. It has the option of play, pause and two times speed control, just like an ebook reader. This feature is also beneficial for visually impaired people, or someone who is busy and don’t have time to read the content.
In comparison, Amazon’s Alexa has the ability of reading Kindle books which do not have an integrated narrator.
This text-to-speech system can also read content in other popular apps or services of Google in the future.
Matias, head of the Google R&D Center in Tel Aviv, claimed that this announcement is just the first step and Engineers are continuously working to look for ways for making this feature more personalized and natural.
“This presents some interesting opportunities in the future, as is the case for many other forms that we are using TTS, which is how to improve the experience, how to make it more natural, how to adapt it, how to personalize it. These are kind of interesting directions that we may be exploring in the future,” were the words of Matias.
Different variants of AI technology have been adopted for this text-to-speech system, and also for recognizing the right path of the page and for determining which parts to skip in reading. Narrating the captions of pictures in web articles is also on the cards for future versions of Go application.
Engineers at Google are trying to integrate dictionary in search app, and since the narrator highlights each word while reading it aloud in real-time, it could also help people in learning new languages, Matias claimed.
“At this time, we are starting with the basics,” he said. “As we think about more of the research aspects of text understanding, being able to analyze and decide what to read, there are some interesting questions that one can envision in the future. One is summarization, another one is [getting] me to the part that is of most interest to me, if we’re talking about long text.”
Go app narrator can read 26 languages and utilizes WaveNet speech synthesis to sound just like humans. Currently, twenty eight countries including India, Brazil, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and other African countries have access to light version of this app.
Reading feature in the light version of Go app is a modern application of conversational artificial intelligence that makes information available for citizens of developing countries.
In the beginning of this year, Cainkade studio in collaboration with Colombian government, announced the release of My Line to make Google Assistant for answering questions on the phone.