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Impressions on Pocket’s new text to speech feature

Sections: Features, Software / Applications

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Pocket released an interesting update for its Android app today. Pocket can now read the articles you save. It’s a neat update, but is it practical? Here are our impressions. 

 

I think Google’s artificial intelligence voices are among the best in the industry. For example, the voice assistant within Google Now sounds less robotic and more natural than Apple’s Siri. However, this kind of naturality is restricted to a sentence or two. When it has to read back an article that’s comprised of several paragraphs, things become a little harder to sit through.

One thing I like about the Pocket update is the ability to skip to the beginning of paragraphs as if you’re changing tracks on an album. I don’t like how the document dims while the audio is being played back. Since the document scrolls down as the audio goes on, I would have liked to read along without needing to keep the media controls on screen.

It’s still faster to read articles in Pocket as opposed to listening to them. Google’s artificial intelligence can’t read long stories with the cadence that people are used to. It’s almost like listening to a first grader read a book one-word-at-a-time.

This update is fantastic for individuals who lost their sight. Other than that, I think it’s a neat feature that will mostly go unused.

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