Although Google is expected to release the next version of Android in August – Android 11 – that doesn’t mean it’s holding back from releasing new and exciting upgrades for its users across the globe. Quite the opposite in fact.
The Mountain View firm has announced a new feature for the Google Assistant that allows it to read articles and web pages out loud. This feature is not only great if you frequently find yourself in situations where having your phone to hand simply isn’t convenient – like a packed train – but it also makes things much more accessible to those with either visual or reading difficulties.
To activate the new feature, all you need to do is utter the command “hey Google, read it” or “hey Google, read this page” and the Assistant will immediately jump into action.
In typical Google fashion, the software on offer is supremely intelligent. In fact, the browser will not only scroll the page down automatically as it’s dictated, it will also highlight the words being said in real-time to help you follow along.
Announcing the new feature, the tech company said: “Think about how much you read on your phone every day: catching up on the news, scanning a new blog, finally reading the article that everyone is talking about. This may require reading a lot of text, which can be a barrier for people with visual or reading difficulties, or who simply need a little help getting through meatier articles.
“With Google Assistant, your browser can now read web articles out loud. Whenever a web article is displayed on your browser in your Android phone, you can say, “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page” it will immediately read aloud the content of the web page. To help you follow along, your browser will automatically scroll the page and highlight words as they’re read aloud.”
Additionally, users are also able to change the speed in which pages are read and have the option to switch between a variety of different voices.
Google went on: “You can also alter the reading speed and choose from multiple voices. Speaking of which, the web pages are read aloud in expressive and natural voices, aiming to use the same intonation and rhythm that you’d use if you were reading it aloud yourself.”
The new Assistant feature is able to read articles aloud in 42 languages and if you stumble on a page in a foreign dialect, things will automatically be translated and spoken in the language you understand.
Best of all, the American tech giant has claimed the feature should work on practically every website on the web with no special setup process required.
Google started rolling out the added functionality last week, meaning it’s highly likely you’re able to take advantage of it right now.