Google Assistant can now read web pages out loud on all Android devices

Google Assistant at IO 2019
Google Assistant at IO 2019 (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is rolling out a new "read it" command for all Android users with Assistant.
  • Once invoked, Assistant will be able to read web pages out loud with a single command.
  • It'll also be able to translate over 42 languages, enabling access to content in non-native languages.

At CES 2020, Google announced that it would be rolling out Read It, an accessibility feature for the web-enabled by Assistant. Now, it's just about ready to release the feature to all Android users.

With the Google Assistant, users can now have web articles like this one read out to them. All they have to do is say "Hey Google, read it" or "Hey Google, read this page," and the Assistant will immediately begin to read out the content. For accessibility purposes, Google will highlight each word as it is being read, to hep readers /listeners follow along as Assistant reads.

Google will also translate content in languages non-native to the reader if they choose it. This translation feature supports "more than 42" languages, ensuring that even language isn't a barrier to content consumption.

Text to speech has always sounded robotic, and Google is working on that. The firm's natural language research means it "can enable more expressive and more natural sounding voices by considering different prosody elements such as intonation, rhythm, and stress." Essentially, Assistant will sound less roboty and more persony, enabling a less grating reading experience.

It'll work for all websites automatically, although webmasters will be able to disable this feature if they want to.

Read It will be available to all Android users worldwide from today.

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Michael Allison