Google is experimenting with a text-to-speech feature for Chrome’s reading mode on desktop, as reported by Android Police. I sometimes use a similar feature in Instapaper, and in Chrome, I could see it being a useful tool to listen to articles in the browser I’m already using while I work.
The feature can apparently be found in Chrome Canary, Google’s bleeding edge version of Chrome, according to X user Leopeva64. If you have the feature, you can click a play button at the top of an article you’re looking at in reading mode to have Google read the text. Leopeva64 also shared a link to a video showing off the feature on Reddit.
Based on the video, Google still has some work to do here, as the voice is robotic and it spells out a header that reads “summary” instead of just reading the word. I can’t tell you further impressions because I don’t seem to have the feature in the version of Canary I downloaded from Google’s website while writing this article. (I also learned that Chrome’s reading mode is a hidden feature that you have to enable.) And Google is late to the game on something like this; Microsoft’s Edge already offers a robust text-to-speech feature in its Immersive View for websites.
Still, if Google does end up rolling out this new text-to-speech feature widely, it could be a great option for Chrome users who prefer to absorb information through audio. Let’s just hope the company makes things sound a little less robotic.