Amazon, Google Update Text-to-Speech Voices For Your Listening Needs

Amazon, Google Update Text-to-Speech Voices For Your Listening Needs e-Reading Software Fire I can't tell you how many users take advantage of the TTS features on their Android or Fire tablets. I usually don't, even though a lot of Android apps support  TTS, and even though the Fire tablet supports Ivona as a core feature.

Now they've gotten an update. Last week Google quietly started rolling out an updated voice for its TTS service, and this week Amazon followed suit with a similar update for the Fire tablets.

Android Authority reported last Wednesday that Google had updated the US voice for its TTS engine which is "new, smoother and less disjointed". It's said to have "more natural intonation" and a more fluid delivery which is more life-like.

The update is rolling out slowly. I'm still stuck on the older voice, so I can't comment directly, but there is a report which confirms that the voice is available through Google Play Books and other apps. Also, there's a Youtube video with a before and after:

As you can hear in the video, the new voice is a significant improvement over the old one (which is mechanical-sounding). According to reports it's going to be available Android-wide, but I'm still waiting to see that for myself.

O O O

In related news, Amazon may have issued an update to the Ivona voices used on the Fire tablets.

I say "may have" because even though I was prompted to install an updated voice this morning, I can't confirm that the new voice is better than the one it replaced.

If you got the update and can hear a difference between the voices before and after, let me know in the comments.

image by C_osett

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

10 Comments

  1. Destination Infinity31 March, 2016

    First of all, Google Play books should let the users know which books support TTS and which books don’t, in its product information page. Right now, at least when I was using it with TTS, users have to make a wild guess. Excellent reason for me to move away from Google Play books. Until that happens, voice enhancements may not become a killer feature in this marketplace.

    Reply
  2. Destination Infinity31 March, 2016

    And when is Amazon going to support TTS on its Kindle app? Either do that, or don’t lock the books with DRM.

    Forget it, I guess I’ll stop reading and wait for the movies based on these books.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder31 March, 2016

      I’m beginning to wonder if Amazon dropped TTS from the Kindle Android app because they want to sell audiobooks.

      Reply
  3. Syn31 March, 2016

    My HDX7 was last updated in January. The only thing voice related is that I have access to all the Ivona voices now. I didn’t last I checked but that was a while ago.

    Amazon should let us have Alexa’s voice. I guess my work around is using Echo or Amazon Tap.

    Reply
  4. Mary31 March, 2016

    On my Fire HD6 settings, I went to Keyboard and Language/Text to Speech, and there were updates available for Amy (English UK), Brian (English UK), Joey (English US) and Salli (English US). Doubtless others were available as well but these were the four I had originally. I downloaded the 4 updates and since I am most familiar with Amy, tried that one first. It is a tad better than it was and it was the best of the bunch before. I also tried Salli and that is improved as well. Great to know, and thanks for telling us. Apparently the updates just sit there in the Text to Speech section waiting for you to download them.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder31 March, 2016

      Thank you for the confirmation, Mary!

      Reply
    2. Syn2 April, 2016

      Thanks, I see the update for Sali, she actually sounds quite a bit better now.

      Reply
  5. […] the stock voice in Windows, which doesn't hold a candle to Siri on iOS or the voices which were recently updated by Amazon and Google. So it would be good if other users could try it and report back both to […]

    Reply
  6. […] can keep up on your favorite authors. And there's now an option in the settings menu to use the upgraded, more natural sounding voice Google debuted a month ago when Play Books TTS feature is reading books aloud to […]

    Reply

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