In recent years, Google invested a lot in AI and the biggest recipient of vast improvements definitely is Google Assistant. Many features are still limited to Pixel devices, but they are slowly finding their way to the general public.
One of the features that’s, at the moment, available on Android 5+ devices is the Read aloud. This feature allows Android users to ask Google Assistant to read web articles for them out loud. You can just open an article in Google app or Chrome and ask Google Assistant to read it by saying: “OK, Google, read it” or “OK, Google, read this page”.
After a few tests, we can conclude that this is not your ordinary text-to-speech feature, as the voices are more natural (users can choose between 4 different voices) and it brings a whole player-like menu (like Google Podcasts or Google Books). In addition, it focuses solely on the article, so it won’t read ad banners or something similar.
The aforementioned player allows you to control reading speed and rewind or skip forward. Also, it highlights words as they are read and scrolls down for you. You can turn this off from the 3-dot menu > Text sync. It also has a permanent mini-player in the Notification shade, but this feature might be reserved for Android 10 devices.
You can also translate articles written in a foreign language and, at the moment, this feature supports 42 world languages. It is still in the early stages but the overall functionality is already there.
As we are writing this, we run into a small bug. If you trigger the Assistant with a button or a shortcut from the Home Screen, the Read aloud function won’t work. Also, make sure to enable Screen context in Assistant > Phone settings.
To get this feature immediately (if you don’t have it already), open the Play Store > Google and enroll in the Beta program for the Google app.
With that said, we can wrap it up. Do you see yourself using this feature? Tell us in the comments section below.