Google Books for Android received an update today that brings a “read aloud” option that instantly reminds us of Pocket’s text to speech feature that was introduced in September. Much like Pocket, Google Books will read text for you line by line. The text that’s being read will also be highlighted in yellow to help you follow along. Is it useful? In normal circumstances, not really.
No company has managed to make artificial intelligence systems convey speech in a normal manner. Even with all of Google’s resources and technology, the female voice in Google Books still sounds robotic, rushed and unnatural. There are too many subtle nuances in text that requires a specific reaction that AI just can’t replicate right now. You can read through pages faster on your own rather than following along with Google’s robot.
There are other new features in this update too. You can now zoom in on text, enjoy improved note taking and you’ll receive book recommendations from Google at the end of each book and the end of your library in general. Amazon has a tendency to do this with plenty of success, so it’s no surprise Google is trying it out as well.
Download Link [Google Play]