No announcement yet.

Android App that reads Webpages out loud

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Android App that reads Webpages out loud

    My wife Kathy suffers from severe MGD and as such needs to keep her use of computers and screens in general to a minimum. Since the advent of her disease she has really been missing being able to surf the internet, so she asked me to see if I could find a way for her to have webpages read out to her instead of her having to read all of them herself.

    I decided to approach this as a two stage task and so far I have only had time to find a workable solution for the second of the stages.
    1. Find something that will read webpages from our Windows based PCs.
    2. Find something that will read webpages from Kathy's Android Smartphone.

    I have done some minor research into the first stage and there seems to be quite a few options, but they seem to be expensive ones. I will continue to look for more price effective answers and will post my results when I have found something suitable. In the mean time I thought I should share the little App I have found that does what we want on Kathy's Smartphone. So far I have only tested this on her phone (a Samsung Galaxy S2) and on mine (a Samsung Galaxy S3). Her phone runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system (4.0.3) and mine runs Android Jellybean (4.1.1). So I cannot guarantee that the app will work on other Android phones.
    I tried out all of the web reading apps that I could find. Here, first, is a list of all of the other apps I tried. None of these were satisfactory - some crashed or would not work, while others had failings that made them too cumbersome to use.
    • Speech web
    • Talkadroid
    • Speak
    • Read2me
    • Ideal AndroidVox
    • Talking Browser Lite
    • Accessible Web Browser
    • Capturatalk.

    The app we like is called Web Page Reader Paid Ver..
    The app costs $1.00 (US) and can be found on Google Play. When searching for it be sure to put the spaces in exactly as I have in the name above or else you will not get it near the top of the list of found apps.
    There is also a free version and I tried that first. But the paid version had a couple of extra features so I thought it acceptable to spend a dollar.

    Most of the apps that read out loud use the Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine already loaded onto the phone. I think on most phones this will sound like a robot is reading to you. Web Page Reader does use the phone’s TTS engine and the app reads webpages very well with the standard TTS - but if you really want it to sound good you should (I feel) get a really good TTS engine. You can find alternate TTS engines on Google Play - I have not tried too many but I was recommended a particular one and it is really good.
    The TTS engine is Ivona and can, as I said, be found on Google Play. (It is free.) To load this you first load a menu type app and from there can choose a particular voice. The voices all seem to be female and amongst others are a US, UK and Australian voice. I have tried the UK and the Australian voice and the Australian voice is really excellent. (OK, I am an Aussie !)
    When I first set it up on the phone I set it to read a web article from our local newspaper. I came up to Kathy from behind and she thought I was playing the radio !
    It is true that many words will be mispronounced but these seem to be mainly abbreviations and many proper nouns.

    Potential Security Issue
    The only warning about Ivona is that when you set it as the phone's default TTS engine (as you will need to do) you get a message saying that this synthesis engine may collect all speech data including passwords and credit card numbers. I believe Android will say this whenever you try to give it a new default TTS engine. I am not expert in this but if you do this it may pay to be circumspect with what you "say" to the phone when using it. If you are worried I would suggest just turning Ivona on when you want to have a web browsing session and then turn the default back on when you are no longer browsing. (On my phone the TTS settings can be changed via Settings>Language and Input>Text-to-speech output.) If you are really concerned then simply stick with the default TTS engine that is already on the phone.

    (PS A smartphone is really a computer so I hope everyone has an anti-virus app installed on their Android phones.)
    Kathy uses the app principally for reading out news and other articles. For navigation in the web to a page she is interested in she usually still uses her eyes. Then when she gets to a longish page she will get the app to read it out loud (and rest here eyes). You can navigate the web from within the app (i.e. it is a web browser on its own) or you can navigate the web using the phone’s normal browser then when you get to a page you want read out loud you can "Share the Page" and then choose the Web Page Reader.

    The app is particularly useful for reading some of the long threads on the Dry Eye Talk. You need to make allowances for its pronunciation, though, with all those medical terms.