Text to speech on web browsers

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Tyler Weitzman
By Tyler Weitzman MS in Computer Science, Stanford University in Speech Synthesis on June 27, 2022
Using text to speech capabilities on your web browser allows the text on your screen to be read aloud to you in a number of ways. Learn more.

    As we spend most of our time online these days, for work, school, or leisure, we play around with and depend on various apps, tools, and services to get through our day. But, there’s one thing we simply can’t function without — our web browsers.

    As you might know, we’ve come a long way in our quest for user-friendliness and accessibility, and we can now tailor the internet-browsing experience to fit everyone’s needs and user profile. That, of course, means we have a lot of customizable options to experiment with and assistive tech to make our work and school tasks easier and our me-time more enjoyable. Today, we’ll focus on text to speech browser plugins, add-ons, extensions, and speech APIs. This will read aloud your browser information to you, allowing people to consume the information quicker and more efficiently.

    The popularity of text to speech software has skyrocketed recently, with more and more sophisticated solutions gracing app stores at a rapid pace. In such a saturated market, you’d be excused for feeling a bit lost and not knowing where to turn for the most versatile and intuitive TTS solution. Luckily, though, you’ve got us to help you out.

    Text to speech on Chrome extensions 

    Chrome is a nifty browser in and of itself, but to make it truly shine, you need a few extensions and add-ons that will help you personalize and adjust the browser to your liking. If you’re mostly dealing with text, we wholeheartedly recommend a text to speech extension.

    There are lots of benefits to text to speech extensions, and the tech has gone so far with these speech apps that you won’t be able to tell it’s not an actual human voice coming out of your speakers. But without further ado, let’s see what kind of benefits TTS Chrome extensions bring, how to download them, and which one you should go for.

    The benefits of using text to speech on a browser

    The whole idea behind TTS plugins is to increase accessibility. Whether you want your browser to narrate some web page or help you read e-mails while you multitask and focus on more important work, a good TTS plugin will be up to the task.

    Furthermore, if you have any difficulties reading (for example, after having suffered a brain injury or due to bad eyesight), you can always count on text to speech solutions to help you out. And just think about studying and how tiresome it can be staring at a screen for too long. Instead of straining your eyes, you can just lay back and let a TTS web app turn your studying material into a podcast using speech voices that are natural sounding.

    How to download a tts reader

    Downloading a TTS reader is pretty easy, and it won’t take more than a few minutes of your time. Pretty much all you have to do is go to the Chrome Web Store and look for any of the relevant keywords (i.e., TTS, text to speech, reader). 

    When you’ve found something that catches your eye, click on it, and then click on the blue Add to Chrome button. Then, the browser will install the add-on, and you’ll be ready to use it without any additional downloads. Of course, we suggest reading the plugin’s description and checking out if there’s a tutorial somewhere that will help you make the most of it before you start experimenting on your own.

    But which TTS reader should you download? We suggest Speechify.  


    Why Speechify, you ask? For one, it works everywhere. That is, it supports all platforms the average user is most likely to be familiar with (Microsoft Windows, Apple iOS, Android), and you can even take it on the go with you if you prefer mobile devices.

    Second, it’s pretty straightforward and user-friendly. You can download it in just a few clicks by heading over to the Chrome Web Store and looking for Speechify. Simply click or tap on the Add to Chrome button, and you’re set.

    Most importantly, Speechify offers a myriad of customization options for you to play with, such as reading speed, playback rates, and different voice options. In addition, it supports most major world languages (English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, etc.) as well as their regional variants (think US English and British English). 

    With so many customizable options and its sophisticated technology that allows for natural-sounding voices, Speechify is the perfect tool, no matter whether you’re working in Google Docs, catching up on the latest news articles, or working on a voiceover for your videos.

    Tips for improving the listening experience when using text to speech on a browser

    You’re probably sold on the idea of TTS readers by now, but we have some additional tips on how to make your user experience even smoother:

    • Try different browsers (like Safari or Firefox) to see if you can get better results
    • Clean the browser cache
    • Make sure the text is well formatted
    • Use punctuation to make the AI’s job easier


    What is the purpose of text to speech?

    Text-to-speech (TTS) solutions are a kind of assistive technology meant to facilitate users’ interaction with written content by enabling their device to read the words on the screen out loud. TTS has various uses, but it is most commonly used as a learning tool or as a means of helping people with reading difficulties, for example, dyslexia.

    How does text to speech work?

    Text-to-speech programs are sophisticated pieces of software, but for the sake of brevity, we can say that they convert text and Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) input into audio files (Wav, mp3, etc.).

    Which algorithm is used in text to speech?

    Text to speech is based on the ML algorithm. It allows for a natural and authentic-sounding intonation by establishing a strong link between the phonetic inventory of a given language and the sounds any given TTS solution offers. In addition, it helps incorporate speech frequencies and acoustic models into the speech wave generator for a more realistic listening experience.

    Can Chrome do text to speech?

    If you want Chrome to read the text for you, simply install our software, highlight the text in the browser that you want to read, right-click on it, and then select the Text to Speech for Google Chrome™ option. Then, the browser will read the text for you.

    Is there a website that will read text to me?

    You can use TTSReader, a really lightweight web-based TTS tool. Head over to ttsreader.com for all the necessary info.

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    Tyler Weitzman

    Tyler Weitzman

    Tyler Weitzman is the Co-Founder, Head of Artificial Intelligence & President at Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews. Weitzman is a graduate of Stanford University, where he received a BS in mathematics and a MS in Computer Science in the Artificial Intelligence track. He has been selected by Inc. Magazine as a Top 50 Entrepreneur, and he has been featured in Business Insider, TechCrunch, LifeHacker, CBS, among other publications. Weitzman’s Masters degree research focused on artificial intelligence and text-to-speech, where his final paper was titled: “CloneBot: Personalized Dialogue-Response Predictions.”