Five best text to speech Google Chrome extensions
Assistive technology like text to speech (TTS) or read-aloud technology is rapidly progressing. These days, TTS features can be found in multiple digital services, and they can help users with reading issues take full advantage of opportunities in the virtual space. Web browser text to speech extensions are incredibly easy to use. Naturally, there are many text to speech Google Chrome extensions available, and we’re taking a look here at the top five.
What is text to speech?
First, let’s cover what text to speech even is. Text to speech tools read digital text aloud, hence why they are also called read-aloud programs. TTS apps process words in a document and online articles and read them back to the user in AI-powered speech.
The adjustable speech output, natural-sounding speech, and simultaneous word highlighting features of some TTS tools are helpful in various situations, especially considering the technology’s compatibility with multiple devices and operating systems. They’re great tools for improving accessibility as well as productivity.
How TTS can help you in your browser
Not all TTS tools are created equal. Some are more limited in their capabilities and functionality. However, many TTS tools can use their assistive technology for high-quality interpretation of written digital content.
Children, people with reading disabilities, or anyone interested in improving their multitasking can use a TTS tool to read entire web pages, transcriptions, and other text-based content. Text to speech audio can even help people go through entire PDF documents. Document reading assistance on mobile devices can also prove invaluable due to the smaller screens and general lack of readability when it comes to documents with small font sizes.
TTS tools are perhaps even more helpful to children and students with dyslexia. A TTS browser extension can help students use digital educational tools and keep up with everyone else in the class. The assistance TTS tools provide can give a massive boost to a student’s sense of self-worth and keep them motivated.
TTS apps are available in different languages and can provide high-quality, real-time narrations from text files, Google docs, Microsoft Word documents, and other types of digital content.
So, what are the best text to speech Google Chrome extensions? Let’s find out.
Best five TTS Google Chrome extensions
Snap&Read is a TTS extension available for iOS devices. It’s free to use and narrates text using computer-generated voice. Although it can sound a bit robotic, it does an excellent job with complex texts and allows voice speed changes.
In an educational capacity, the app has almost everything it needs to help students use online research materials, navigate websites, and improve their comprehension of written information.
However, the app lacks appropriate content recognition and may have a slightly higher learning curve. Adult guidance might be necessary when recommending the app to kids.
One of its best features is allowing users to select specific portions of text by carving out a custom text box.
Natural Reader is a speech synthesis app presented as a cloud solution for people with reading disabilities and anyone else in need of clear narration of digital written content. It can convert Word and PDF documents, multiple ebook formats, TXT documents, PNG and JPG files, and web page content.
The app offers multilingual support for nine languages and enables users to select between more than 50 speech voices.
Although a popular Chrome extension, Natural Reader also has a downloadable version and a commercial app. Users can benefit from free access to the personal downloadable app and the cloud-based extension. A paid subscription is necessary to access more features, expand the app’s functionality, and improve the generation of audio files.
Reading class materials and going over cloud-stored documents is easy enough with Capti Voice. This multi-platform web application has native support for iOS devices but also works as a Chrome extension, making it useful for Android device users who need a TTS browser extension.
The free version of the tool is sufficient for personal use and provides enough assistance in some educational applications. However, the pro version enables high-quality voice samples and additional features.
Read Aloud is a popular Chrome extension speech reader compatible with a wide range of Google-powered products like Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Classroom, and Google Maps. The assistive technology converts written digital content to an audio format with support in 36 languages.
Configuring the app is effortless thanks to its intuitive and straightforward user interface. You can select between several voices, adjust the reading speed, and start and stop the playback whenever you want.
Although it sometimes has bugs and is incompatible with many similar tools, its download numbers of over 700,000 send a strong statement.
Finally, Speechify is a TTS speech engine with impressive speed reading capabilities designed to assist users with conditions such as ADHD and dyslexia. It can also benefit auditory learners, multitaskers, and people struggling to learn a second language.
The app’s basic version is free and compatible with Android and iOS devices as well as Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox web browsers. Due to its cross-platform support, reliable speed, and narration accuracy, Speechify is a fan favorite in the text to speech space.
Our top pick: Speechify
Launched in 2016, Speechify comes with an ever-evolving text to speech API. Both the mobile app and its browser extension counterpart offer support in different languages and a great selection of natural-sounding voices.
It supports multiple written content formats. Users can put it to work and improve their understanding of PDFs, documents, online articles, emails, and many more digital resources.
In addition, the desktop version of Speechify comes with optical character recognition technology capable of turning entire books into understandable audio narrations. This is one of the most popular trends in TTS due to its implications in the real world and interaction with hard-copy templates.
The reading accuracy, voice clarity, and adjustable speed can help struggling students or employees on tight deadlines go through important files at two or three times the speed without compromising their understanding of the information. The AI voices are some of the best around and maintain their reading accuracy through all speed settings. Add to that the flexibility and cross-platform functionality, and Speechify is easily a top solution among TTS apps.
Going one step further, Speechify offers its users top-tier customer support. Unlike some competitors, Speechify counts on trained individuals to resolve most of their customer’s issues instead of the more traditional chatbot support function.
As a bonus, using Speech Synthesis Markup Language, or SSML, makes note-taking and highlighting much easier, improving the user’s ability to retain information from converted digital audio materials.
The free version of the Chrome extension is one way to ease into the world of text-to-speech and get acquainted with the technology. Alternatively, users can opt for the premium version at only $139 per year or test the premium solution during a three-day trial. Unlike the free Speechify version, the trial unlocks all premium features for testing.
Getting started with Speechify
Getting started is easy if you want to be one of 20 million users to improve their knowledge assimilation abilities with Speechify.
Installing Speecify’s Chrome extension is no different than adding any other extension to your browser. The cloud-based version of Speechify has about one million users, and anyone can try it for free. The setup takes just a few minutes, after which you can enjoy browsing written content with the desired voice and at whatever speed you find most comfortable.
Upgrading to the affordable pricing premium version enables support in over 20 languages, scanning hard-copy content, five read speeds, content skipping, and practical note-taking tools.