Google Go, which is the main Google app for Android Go smartphones, has gotten a pretty useful update today. According to Google's blog post, the Google Go app can now read articles and webpages aloud to the user. This can be very useful for those that might be blind and can't actually read the article, but it's also a great way to read longer articles while you are doing something else – sort of like Audible, but for news articles.
The search giant has this feature working in over a dozen languages but has not mentioned which specific languages it does work in. There are also some playback speed controls, allowing the user to control how fast or how slow the reading is going. While this text-to-speech engine is not available in other Google apps and services for reading things aloud, it will be coming to those apps and services in the future. This is according to Google's VP Yossi Matias, which spoke with VentureBeat about this launch over the phone. As expected, Google is using artificial intelligence algorithms to run this text-to-speech engine, so it should also get better over time, as Google is able to perfect it a bit more.
What's significant about this app update is the fact that Google is able to add this feature in, while keeping the app size fairly small. Since this is an Android Go app, Google Go does need to stay pretty small, so it can run efficiently on these Android Go smartphones – like the Alcatel 1 that just launched in the US. Which means it should be able to add it to other apps without ballooning the size of their apps, which is going to be a good thing. Especially since many apps are already pretty large, and are only getting larger and larger.