- Google Chrome is adding a new ‘read aloud’ feature that will allow the browser to read online articles out loud, catching up to other browsers like Microsoft Edge.
- The feature can be accessed in the Reading Mode on the desktop version of Chrome Canary, with a tiny ‘Play’ button added to online articles that users can click to activate.
- While there are already existing ways to read aloud articles in Chrome, such as using text-to-speech extensions or Google Assistant’s ‘Read It’ feature, the upcoming ‘read aloud’ feature is a step towards improving the native experience.
Google Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, and for good reasons. It is often the leader in rolling out new features, but strangely enough, it doesn’t have the ability to read aloud online articles, unlike other browsers like Microsoft Edge. That, however, is set to change soon, as a tipster has now spotted a new option in Chrome Canary that would allow the browser to read aloud articles on the web.
The ‘read aloud’ feature can reportedly be accessed when an article is opened in the Reading Mode on the desktop version of Chrome Canary. According to @Leopeva64, switching to the Reading Mode will add a tiny ‘Play’ button to any online article, and users can click on it to get the browser to read the article out loud. The tipster also shared a 26-second video that shows the feature in action. As you can see for yourself, it sounds laughably robotic, reminding you of the old-fashioned text-to-speech voice models.
Chrome’s upcoming ‘read aloud’ feature was first spotted earlier this month by Chrome Unboxed, which revealed that the new option will be available on the Android version of the browser. To enable it, users would simply have to download and install Chrome Canary from the Google Play Store, and then turn on the ‘Read Aloud’ flag from chrome://flags. To use the feature, users will have to highlight any text, select the three-dot menu icon on the pop-up, and then hit the ‘Read Aloud’ option.
It is worth noting that there are already multiple ways to read aloud articles on the web while using Google Chrome. On desktops, you can use a text-to-speech extension named ‘Read Aloud‘ that can convert webpage text to audio, while on Android, you can use Google Assistant‘s ‘Read It’ feature that is much more polished than the native option. Of course, this is just the start and one will hope that Google will improve the experience substantially before introducing it in a stable build.