Google Chrome has just introduced a new extension called Chrome Speak; a text reader for web content in the Google Chrome search engine. This will read the highlighted text aloud. Whether it’s out of sheer laziness, poor eyesight, or simply a desire to have a text reader in your browser, it’s an interesting and accurate feature.
You can easily listen to a Wikipedia entry while getting ready for work or entertain a room of friends with the feature so you don’t have to read interesting information out loud or have everyone on screen. These are hypothetical scenarios, of course. The last point is that Chrome Speak works and it works quite well.
What is meant by “fairly” well? It is the typical voice of a text reader; monotonous and perpetual. As a result, a certain transition in the text sounds like a continuous sentence or a point is missed that would normally bring an appropriate pause. Ultimately, the reading is understandable and you can work with it. To hear information, it has a purpose.
Sometimes spending many hours in front of a computer screen can strain your eyes and you may want to take a break and still get the information from a long text. This Google Chrome extension will work. Listen to long articles read aloud while you rest your tired eyes. This is also useful for taking notes on long texts. While being read to, you can take in information and write it down without having to pause. Simply select any text on any web page and Chrome Speak will read it. You can customize the speed, pitch, and volume of the reading voice. Multiple languages are supported and this feature can also be used offline if required.
To download the extension, use the following link. It takes a few seconds and the installation is complete. To use Chrome Speak, click the headset icon in the top right of the toolbar.
This will open a menu for the extension. This menu is what you will use to set the speed, volume, and pitch.
There is a field where you can copy and paste or type text to listen to. Click the speak button to listen to the entered text. Select the “More options” option to configure the voice options.
Windows 7 defaults to a single digital voice named Microsoft Anna, a female voice with an American (widespread) accent. You can add voices and select any of them from the drop down menu in the voice properties. The text will be read in any selected language, as long as it is supported by the extension.
Basic usage involves simple text highlighting on a given page. Highlight the text you want to read, then right-click the highlighted field and choose “Speak Selection Text” to start reading. You will start listening immediately at this point. Use the context menu, accessible from another right-click on the highlighted field or from the headset icon, to select Stop to stop reading.
The extension will stop on its own once it has reached the end of the highlighted text. Chrome Speak offers compatibility with Windows, Mac OS X, and Chrome OS and uses the native speech test capabilities provided by these operating systems.