The Google Lens tool is fantastic for quickly grabbing relevant info from photos. Now it's getting a little easier to use if you're a Google Photos devotee. Our readers have spotted a few new tools when you tap the Lens icon while viewing a single item in the official Google Photos app, or when you scroll down to use the more expanded photo info panel. It's hard to pin down when these features went live, but it appears to be within the last couple of weeks. Read More
At Google's event in New Delhi, the company announced that it was launching website dictation for Google Go. We first heard about this during the Nigeria event a month ago, where the feature was said to arrive "in the coming weeks." Looks like we've hit that ever-so-helpful marker. Read More
Get ready for the little person living inside your phone and speaker to sound a lot more life-like. Google believes it has reached a new milestone in the quest to make computer-generated speech indistinguishable from human speech with Tacotron 2, a system that trains neural networks to generate eerily natural-sounding speech from text, and they have the samples to prove it. Read More
Google employees Natalie Hammel and Lorraine Yurshansky, who go by Nat & Lo for their series of informative Google tour videos, are at it again. This time the pair are demonstrating the recent improvements to Google's Text-To-Speech engine (TTS), which many of our readers have already experienced. Since synthesized, human-style voice functions are part of the biggest new trend in usability and gadgets, it's kind of a big deal. Read More
Your phone has been able to talk to you for years, but it started out sounding like a computerized toaster with laryngitis. Google has improved its text to speech (TTS) voice over the years, and a new version is rolling out now. The change is fairly dramatic, with the new voice sounding much more natural and pleasant. Read More
It's pretty rare that we get to talk about Google's text-to-speech engine. Updates are fairly uncommon and most of them can be summarized as bug fixes and performance improvements. But every once in a while there's an update that brings a pretty cool new feature to this workhorse of an app. Version 3.8 adds one of the top requests to speech output: user selectable gender and voice variations for each language.
The official changelog has been posted for TTS v3.8. It mentions support for seven new languages, higher quality speech output, faster speech for offline voices, an updated Indian English voice, and the usual bug fixes and performance improvements.
Things are heating up for Android Wear lately. Earlier this week, a new version of the Android Wear companion app began rolling out to make preparations for the next OS update. There's now an update to the Google app in the Beta channel which follows up with some interesting changes of its own: a new Wear-specific app that places the Google Now stream into a distinct card on watches. A teardown also shows some interesting new experiments for continuous queries and text-to-speech. There's even a small tweak for the Google Now Launcher.
The Google Now Card
Views of the new Google Now card and the first page to the right. Read More
Updates to Google's Text-to-Speech app aren't always interesting, but today's bump actually brings with it two new languages. For those waiting for Hindi and Indonesian language support, it's your lucky day.
Keep in mind that this is the text-to-speech engine, not the voice recognition software that already has support for Indonesian, but not for Hindi. Read More
Text-to-speech is one of those little pieces of an operating system that not many people use, but which is indispensable for those who do. Now if your first language is Japanese, you've got the option to play out text on your phone with Google's first-party Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine. The relevant app is on the Play Store and was updated today, so you might not have immediate access to it thanks to Google's rollout system.
To be clear, this is text-to-speech, not speech-to-text - Google's voice input already works in Japanese for the keyboard (voice typing) and Google Now commands. Check the Language Input section of the main settings menu for that. Read More