August 28th, 2018
We launched Google Go last year as a lightweight, faster way to search the web on devices which may have less space or less reliable internet connections. Today, millions of people around the world use Google Go to learn, stay informed, and explore the web more easily than ever before.
Despite the rapid growth of audio and video content online, the web is still predominantly made up of lengthy, text-based pages which aren’t always easy to read on the go. So it’s not surprising we’ve received consistent requests for Google Go to make it more convenient to access web content.
Today, we’re launching a new feature which will let everyone using Google Go’s browser listen to webpages out loud. Powered by natural language processing and speech synthesis AI, this technology can read aloud billions of webpages in 28 languages smoothly, and in a natural sounding voice, even on 2G connections. It also uses minimal cellular data. This technology relies on AI to determine which parts of a page to read, and which to leave out, so you only listen to what is important.
Using this technology, consuming long-form text becomes as easy as watching TV or listening to the radio. It’s also helpful for multitasking, like following a recipe while cooking a meal, listening to articles while exercising, or catching up on news on your commute.
People using Google Go come from many different backgrounds, and some might want extra tools to help read and pronounce new words—for example those with visual or reading impairments, people studying a foreign language, or those less comfortable reading long text. Today’s update makes it easier for anyone to access the richness of the web. For those learning new languages, each word is highlighted as it is read, allowing you to follow along and help accelerate your learning.
In the future, we’d like to bring the ability to listen to web pages to more Google products. Long term, we hope this is just one way we can use AI to make accessing the web easier for everyone.