20 March 2020
If you are someone who loves to read web content on their smartphone browser, Google has a new feature tailored just for you. Google Assistant is now capable of reading web articles out loud on Android devices. The feature was first previewed at CES 2020 and is now available for everyone to use around the globe.
A user simply needs to open the web article they are interested in reading and then trigger Google Assistant. The voice command for the new feature is "Hey Google, read it" or "Hey Google, read this page" and it will start to work instantly. It will start reading the article out loud in the language it is written but if that is not your native language, it will show you a translate option. Google says it is capable of translating in 42 languages and the whole process happens in real-time. It means if the content is in Chinese and you want it in English, it will start speaking out in English itself.
The whole experience of Google Assistant reading articles out loud is similar to listening to a podcast or audiobook. It offers options to play/pause the audio as well as shortcuts to jump forward or rewind by 10 seconds. There is a time seek bar which you can use to jump directly to any specific part. And yes, it lets you control the audio playback speed to suit your need or preference.
It will further auto-scroll the web page and highlight the particular word it is reading out loud at a particular moment. This will help users keep a track of the article, especially when there is a really long one. Google says that this new functionality should work with any Android device running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher. As for website owners who do not content of their web page(s) to be read out loud, they can make use of the newly introduced nopagereadaloud tag to do so.