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October 4, 2008

Audio Knols

Google Knol tests a cool feature that automatically converts articles to audio files, which can be played or downloaded. For now, the option is available for a small number of knols, like this one about multiple sclerosis.

"We are experimenting with Audio Playback as an option for some knols, starting with a handful of English language featured knols. If this experiment is successful, we may make Audio Playback available to more knols in additional languages, and additional features," mentions a Knol help page.

Hopefully, Google will add support for text-to-speech conversions to other services like Google Docs, Google Reader or Google Book Search.


  1. Very interesting. I hope more comes out of this.

  2. Sounds better than Microsoft Sam

  3. It seems to read with inflections - cool!
    Takes note of the commas and stuff.

  4. This is the best text-to-speech I've ever heard. How do they do the inflections I wonder?

    This would be a great general Google feature and would put them even further out of reach for the other mega-datacenter services.

  5. Absolut fantastic, the best speech synthesis I've ever heard. First I've thought it's from a human recorded (english is not my native language)
    Please support other languages like German.

  6. That is extremely good speech synthesis - if only we could have it it a non-American accent ;-)

  7. It is great that google has started on that road. At we are speech-enabling hundreds of sites and can cover more than 20 languages, with inflections and all (Ian M, we also include non-American English, with a very high quality voice). Check or
    Speech-enable blogs is feasible too ;-)

  8. Very nice sound to it. However, the minor issue I noticed was it doesn't understand the meaning or context of dashes (-) near numbers.
    For the phrase: 10-15 it says "10 dash 15" instead of "10 to 15".
    Then for: 50-100x, it says "50 minus 100 x" instead of "50 to 100 times".
    But, overall, its pretty good.

  9. I think it's the speech synthesizer from GOOG-411.

  10. Hi

    I think that the audio web is the way forward. At ReadSpeaker we paved the way back in 1999 and have more than 2000 web sites which are speech-enabled with our technology. You can check out the International Herald Tribune for example at (click on any article and then on Listen to Article). We propose more than 20 languages including UK English, Japanese, Germa, Spanish, French, etc. You can find us at

  11. Very cool, and I could definitely see this being expanded to Google's other services as well as websites in general.

    Consider the potential of a simple SOAP based web service model which any site owner could use to have their site content "text-to-speeched" on the fly.

  12. knol is a google's wikipedia


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