Creating an audiobook is not easy. Although an audiobook lasts six or seven hours, it did not take six or seven hours to record it, but much longer. It is a tedious and long process that is generally reserved for great titles and works. The clearest proof is in the Google Play rankings. It is not common to find audiobooks of more minority books or new authors. Google says it has a possible solution: Auto narrate them.
In a post on its official blog, Google has confirmed that Google Play is working with publishers in the United States and the United Kingdom, to uses an automatic narrator so “books without audio versions can be narrated.” The tool in question is currently in beta but will be made available to all publishers in early 2021.
The company has taken advantage of the announcement to publish an illustrative video in which we can something interesting. We don’t know how exactly the system will work yet, but the video reveals a moment in which the user chooses the voice of the narrator who wants to read the book, something that could open up a curious range of possibilities. Audiobooks are currently narrated by a voice actor and his voice is often the only option available.
Any user can test this system by downloading the free demo. You just have to enter the text and hit “Speak it”. The result is somewhat flat, but the tone of voice is natural, much more than the voice of the well-known Loquendo. Perhaps with some adjustments, and always starting from the basis that they are synthetic voices, it can be achieved that it is not tedious to listen to it for six or seven hours.
The impact that this application will have seems quite promising. Currently, audiobooks are quite beneficial for blind people, with vision problems or some other physical limitation. Today audiobooks are also an excellent alternative for those who work while driving.
Even people who do other jobs spend a lot of hours in traffic on a daily basis and that shortens the time they could spend on other activities, so listening to an audiobook can be a good way to make the most of your time. which is also invested in driving, cooking, or during gym training.
It is proven that the speed of reading is slower than the speed with which we capture information that we hear. This is why we practically listen to an audiobook without pauses and grasp everything it says. Another great advantage is that we can change the speed to 1.5 or 2 times faster and thus we can finish a book twice as fast as normal speed, this translates to 3 or 4 times faster than traditional reading.
This new function would allow you to expand the catalog of audiobooks already available on Google Play Books and, perhaps, offer them at a lower price. In addition, this would help Google to compete against Audible, Amazon’s audiobook platform. We will have to wait to see how it is implemented.