On 28 August, Google hosted its annual ‘Google For India’ event in New Delhi. At the event, the biggest announcement was probably the rebranding of Google Tez to Google Pay. However, among the various other announcements for Google Assistant and other things, the company also introduced a subtle AI-powered feature for its Google Go search app — website reading.
For the uninitiated, Google Go was announced at a similar event last year, and the platform is essentially a data-light search app for emerging markets like India, where users struggle with poor connectivity and a large number of users still use feature phones will low RAM.
The new website reading feature on Google Go is designed to increase its appeal across India, especially among the non-English speaking audience.
Basically, Google Go’s website reading feature will allow users to listen to web pages. Google says that the new AI feature is “powered by natural language processing and speech synthesis AI” and can read in 28 languages smoothly, even on 2G connections.
The feature apparently uses minimal cellular data and relies on artificial intelligence to determine which parts of a page to read and which to leave out, so you only listen to what is important. Hopefully, this means that Google won't be reading out ads to us.
Besides choosing the language, the feature also allows users to adjust the speed at which the text is read.
The feature is great because it's inclusive of everyone. The internet will be less hostile to users who are illiterate or have disabilities.
Google says that it plans to bring the option of listening to webpages to more Google products.