Google Assistant on your Android smartphone can now read webpages aloud. The new “Read it” feature is rolling out globally to all Android users. Google had previewed this feature a couple of months back at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.
To use this feature, users will have to simply say “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page” after opening a web page. Google Assistant will then start reading the text on the screen. It’ll automatically scroll the page as it reads. And to help you keep track of where the reading has gotten in a story, Assistant will highlight the text that it is currently reading.
Google Assistant also displays the estimated time taken to finish reading that particular page. If you want to skip to another paragraph of a story, you can tap on that section and move forward. You can also move back to a previous section in the exact same manner.
On the bottom of the screen is the controller through which you play/pause Google Assistant reading the page. You also get one-tap buttons to rewind the reading to ten seconds back or fast-forward it through 30 seconds. You can also adjust the speed at which Google Assistant will read the page.
Google Assistant can read webpages in 42 languages
Google says the “Read it” feature is available in 42 different languages. This means Google Assistant can live translate a webpage to your preferred language and read that aloud as well. Needless to say, this is another great addition to Google Assistant’s repertoire.
This feature is perfect for, say when you are following a recipe but you don’t have a hand free to scroll the page. Google Assistant’s Read it feature can also come handy when you don’t feel like looking at your screen anymore but still need to catch up on some text. In fact, it works in the background as well. So you can continue doing other stuff on your phone while Google Assistant reads out a story for you.
Google Assistant’s new ability works for all websites automatically. However, Google is providing webmasters with a “No page read aloud” HTML meta tag that will disable it on a page-by-page basis, if for some reason they don’t want Google Assistant to read aloud a page.
The feature is rolling out now to all Android smartphones running Android 5 (Lollipop) or newer through a server-side update. If you don’t have it enabled on your Android device just yet, you’ll certainly get it in the next few days. Don’t forget to keep checking back.