Before, developers had to build their own text-to-speech functionality in their own app. Now, this feature is available worldwide on most devices. This saves hours of needlessly creating and editing audio files.
The most recent update to the Google text-to-speech feature is the addition of high-quality male and female voices in US and UK English. It is quite an improvement to the feature. Voices are less choppy. At the beginning of the year, Google started adding male and female voice to each language option (since version 3.8).
Watch this for an overview of the feature:
Edgar Cervantes, contributor for Android Authority noted that:
As of version 3.8, there is a bevy of options for both female and male alterations, making it easy to customize your experience and make your phone sound a little different from the crowd.
If you rarely use Text-to-speech, you might find it handy when busy with other tasks and you find your hands full to be holding on to your device. There are a lot of benefits to having your device read out loud to you.
One thing that Google has been aggressively pursuing recently is the ability to multitask better on Android operating system. The OS certainly wasn’t necessarily designed with multitasking in mind, as early smartphones could really only do one thing at a time anyway. However, concepts growing out of this rocky foundation have been passed down through the software’s development, and now we find ourselves having to awkwardly hop between apps to get things done. Just as Google did with their popular Translate app, the search giant has now brought in-app functionality to their Text-to-speech engine…Text-to-speech is an excellent tool for multitaskers anyway. The kind of person who doesn’t want to stop working on a design project to read an email is exactly the kind of person who would probably get impatient hopping tediously between apps. Now they can continue their work after just two taps and have the intrusion read aloud to them.
– John Dye in “Google Text-to-speech now works within any app” | Writer for Android Authority.
These applications are very straightforward once installed (but note that new Android devices now have this built in). Android users can further customize the Google TTS by modifying the device’s TTS setting. We can now choose between a female voice, a male voice, or a number of variations based on the language.
The remaining challenge for Text-to-speech is making it sound more natural for serious listening. Although most TTS are now supported by human-sounding voices, there are differences in intonation and stress. There are a lot of enhancements to the technology and is now being deployed to assist in language learning.
If you are a developer or someone who’d like to tap into Text-to-speech for your own website or application, try ResponsiveVoice – an instant TTS solution with voice consistency across Android and Apple devices and browsers.
“Google Text-to-speech adds multiple male and female voices” by Edgar Cervantes
“Google Text-to-speech now works within any app” by John Dye