Google is launching a new read-out-loud feature for its official Go app on Android. Google’s Go app on Android is meant for emerging markets where devices usually have poor internet connections. Go apps are also bundled with Android’s Go Edition, which is also meant for emerging markets where the majority of customers aren’t able to afford high-end flagships.
The new update for Google Go is meant to make the app more accessible to users. Google says the read-out-loud feature is powered by artificial intelligence, in order to pick out the important bits from a webpage or article. The system uses natural language processing, as well as speech synthesis (read: text-to-speech) AI to let users listen to any webpage they want. The use of AI here is peculiar for sure, mainly because the majority of Go users don’t have good internet connections and their devices are likely not powerful enough to tackle on-device machine learning. Google says otherwise, stating that the AI uses minimal cellular data to be able to work seamlessly in less reliable internet connections.
“People using Google Go come from many different backgrounds, and some might want extra tools to help read and pronounce new words—for example those with visual or reading impairments, people studying a foreign language, or those less comfortable reading long text,” the firm said in a blog post. In other, related news, Google is rebranding its “India-first” payments app Tez into Google Pay, which users can use to transfer money.