Google wants to convert every book on Google Play Books into an audiobook, using natural language processing and presentation science models that use machine learning to understand sentences and group them together with better tone and rhythm.
The upcoming feature seeks to make access to Narrator’s voice, which is automatically generated for textbooks, even more accessible.
Google Play Books is working with publishers in the United States and the United Kingdom for the offering, providing a publisher tool to create audiobooks automatically narrated by the narrator’s voice in early 2021, with the beta version now available.
After setting up automatic narration, the user can choose between machine learning and narrator voice generated by artificial intelligence.
The feature appears to use the same technology used within the Google Duplex system to make sounds natural.
If Google can achieve this, it could compete with the Amazon Audible audiobook service, as it does not need to pay narrators to read books through the microphone.
It is possible that Google has poured millions of dollars into this technology, and it will only be used by Google, so it is a big investment.
Often times, users turn to Google Play Books’ Reading Aloud feature to convert all books that support this feature into audiobooks.
The problem is that the experience lacks a sense of contact with the author while providing the text in an almost monotonous tone and losing the nuances that make the narrated books worth listening to, despite the playback of improved audio models.
According to Google, the idea of turning every book into an audiobook ranks first in the company’s minds, as it continues to offer the advantage of reading aloud more.
It is worth noting that these innovations are not currently applied to every book, and instead the decision will be left to publishers, but this is clearly the ultimate goal of Google.
Google may plan to provide the feature for free with regular books, giving users the auto-listed audiobook and textbook at one price, something Amazon doesn’t do.