Amongst text to speech services, Google text to speech is top rated. Launched in August 2018, it uses Google’s powerful neural network and is powered by DeepMind, arguably the most sophisticated AI algorithm on the planet. Google text to speech is also known for its scalability. It can be used for simple tasks like Google voice search on Android phones, as well as for global applications like chat and voice based customer service. Through API integrations, developer teams can use Google's text to speech and speech to text capabilities to create end-to-end solutions.
According to the Cloud TTS team at Google, there are three major use cases for this service - call centers, IoT and mobile, and audio-only media like podcasts and audiobooks.
In this article we will cover the key features of Google cloud TTS, what it's great for, what you will not find, and outline three reasons to pick an alternative text to speech tool.
From an initial library of 30 standard voices in 14 languages, Google TTS today has over 220 voices across 40+ languages and variants. There are two types of voices - Standard and WaveNet.
Standard voices use parametric speech to text technology, which typically generates audio data by passing outputs through signal processing algorithms known as vocoders.
WaveNet voices are premium voices using a WaveNet model, the same technology used to produce speech for Google Assistant, Google Search, and Google Translate.WaveNet voices generate speech that sounds more natural than other text to speech systems.
You can train the custom voice model to produce a unique synthetic voice using your own studio quality recordings. through the cloud text to speech API. Among other things, this model can be used to tweak the voices of digital assistants and conversational interfaces. TTS Custom Voice was released in March 2022 and is currently available in English (US, AU, and UK), Spanish (US and Spain), French (France and Canada), Italian, German, Portuguese (Brazil), and Japanese.
You can change the pitch and adjust the speed of speech of a Google tts voice. You can customize the audio using SSML tags by adding pauses, numbers, date and time formatting, and other pronunciation instructions.
According to reviewers on G2, text to speech is popular for multi-tasking, daily communication like emails and texts, as well as real time translations during meetings. In line with its other applications like Google Doc, Google Chrome, and Google Maps, once it is integrated the overall user experience is smooth and intuitive. Since it is available on the google cloud platform, accessibility is a breeze.
If you have an Android phone, you can use the inbuilt text to speech app to read your messages and emails aloud. You can easily enable this in the Accessibility Settings.
The APIs are rated one of the best in the market. The excellent documentation adds to the ease of customizing applications as per specific requirements. This makes it perfect for small developer teams looking to add another layer of top-notch, user-friendly functionality to their IoT projects, phone apps and other speech applications.
The paid text to speech Google API can be used to voice blogs and websites. The presence of voice in digital content has been growing steadily. Adding an audio element or a read aloud feature to online media and content improves its accessibility while opening up possibilities for newer audiences.
With a few steps Google text to speech can also be added to other Google applications, like a screen reader to Chromebooks, to read ebooks on google play books, or as a read aloud app on android devices.
Google Text to Speech is a great text to speech tool with many strengths, but it's not without limitations. There are several other TTS apps that can serve you just as well or even better. Here is a list of the top alternatives to Google Text to Speech:
Murf is an intuitive voice generator that converts your text to natural-sounding speech in a matter of minutes. Murf offers an extensive library of over 120 AI voices in 20+ languages that can be used to create voiceovers for different applications, including eLearning, podcasts, marketing, audiobooks, IVR, and more. The software's AI voices can replicate the subtleness and nuances of the human voice in speech. Murf's voice generation platform also serves as a video editing tool that creators can use to create a perfectly-timed voice over video with background music. That said, the platform also offers users the ability to edit out noises, unwanted background sounds, make modifications to their script, control how the final voiceover sounds by adjusting the speed, changing the pitch of narration, adding varying lengths of pauses, and more.
Murf offers a free plan that enables users to explore all its 120+ AI voices for free and use voice customization features to fine-tune their voiceover narration. This serves as a huge benefit for first-time users as they can get a complete idea of what the platform offers and the quality of its voices and services.
With Microsoft Azure's text to speech service, users can generate realistic speech that matches the intonation and emotion of human voices. Azure supports an extensive library of 400 neural voices across 140 languages and variants as well as speaking styles, including newscast, shouting, whispering, emotions like cheerful and sad, and customer service. The platform also offers the ability for users to tune their voice output for different scenarios by easily adjusting rate, pitch, pronunciation, pauses, and more.
Users can also use speech synthesis markup language (SSML) to define lexicons and control speech parameters to customize their speech output. Microsoft Azure TTS is also available as an API integration that users can integrate into any system and transform it into a speech-enabled application.
Businesses and content creators can use IBM Watson text to speech service to convert written text to natural-sounding speech that can be used across a variety of voice-driven applications from voice-automated chatbots to speech-enabled tools for the disabled or visually impaired to home-automation solutions. Watson TTS offers a wide range of synthetic voices in 13 different languages. To customize the speech output on IBM Watson TTS, users have to use SSML tags.
The software service also provides APIs that use IBM's speech-synthesis capabilities to synthesize text into natural-sounding speech in a variety of languages, dialects, and voices.
A cloud-based service, Amazon Polly text to speech helps convert text into lifelike speech. Currently, the application supports 90+ voices across 34 languages and variants. Users can either provide the input as plain text or as SSML tags. For custom pronunciations, the TTS service supports lexicons.
Amazon Polly has two types of voices: standard TTS voices and neural TTS voices.
While the former uses concatenative synthesis, which involves stringing together the phonemes of recorded speech, neural TTS voices are generated by a two-part system that emphasizes frequency characteristics unique to human speech.
A text to voice reader, Speechify can read aloud any Google Doc, PDF, webpage, email, or ebooks with natural-sounding voices in over 30 languages. Some of the standout features of the application include instant translation, text highlighting, precise video playback (such as the ability to skip charts or graphs), and the ability to adjust the reading speed. Speechify also offers an API powered by advanced SSML, which makes its voices very natural-sounding.
The application also enables users to snap a pic of a page in any book and hear it read aloud in an AI voice of their choice. Speechify also supports a floating widget that follows users down the page as it reads. Users can play, pause, change the reading voice or speed.
In simple terms, Google text to speech produces an audio file of the text entered. With Google TTS, you cannot add a voiceover to your existing video, for example, or edit an existing audio file.
In Google TTS, audio is created from text through using a command line. This essentially requires writing a number of lines of code in a console, which can be intimidating for non-developers.
Speech recognition services include dictation, voice typing and transcription. This is called speech to text and is available as a separate API, called Google Cloud Speech to Text.
Following the unprecedented success of online video content in the previous years, voiceovers are now on an upward trajectory. The arrival of podcasts and audiobooks in mainstream media is a great example. Historically, sound is one of humankind's oldest methods of learning. Listening to voiced content also helps us multi-task, further adding to the holy grail of daily productivity. Studies have shown that the combined effect of video and audio in digital marketing, product demos, reviews and other multimedia is both effective and persuasive, and therefore a boon for ROI seeking marketers. A text-to-speech tool like Google TTS doesn’t provide everything needed to create multimedia content.
According to a blind study conducted by Google, WaveNet voices in Google text to speech scored 70%+ in a comparison to human speech, thus showing that WaveNet voices produce natural sounding speech. The human voice has an incredible range of emotion and tonality, made even more complex by time, diversity and endless change. A single voice cannot represent all human voices.
At Murf, while acknowledging the conundrum that no two human voices sound the same, we provide an emotive range of AI voices across geography, age and gender. Our curated library has 120+ voices across 20 different languages, which can also be filtered by use case. The same words, said in a different voice, can have entirely new meaning. We want our AI voices to not just voice content, but to amplify its intent.
Each of our realistic AI voices addresses the singular aspect of the human voice to speak emotion, and to go beyond just words or sounds.
The Google text to speech API excels in speed at scale. It’s cloud based accessibility makes it easy and quick to set up. However, it only allows for limited adjustments of the audio itself.
Unlike functional tasks like real time translations, reading text and generating audio from notes, voiceovers for online content are marketing assets. A product demo or an e-learning module is specifically created with an audience in mind. User engagement, though the form of click throughs or time spent, is the target. This makes the voice over of the content as critical to the output as the video and images. Being able to edit the audio for emphasis, pitch, speed and most importantly, pronunciation, can have a direct impact on the quality of the content produced.
So, if you’re creating content for online consumers, look for a tool that allows you to customize the voice of your choice.
The Google text to speech API is particularly useful for platform integrations and IoT projects. Further, the extensive and comprehensive documentation ensures smooth integrations. It is a web based tool that is very good at what it does, which is voicing content, as is.
However, consumer-oriented content has to meet multiple criteria to get noticed, in addition to voicing content. This involves hitting its stated objective, being entertaining and informative at the same time, while being compatible and optimal for every platform it is available on. Murf Studio offers a platform that integrates this entire workflow in one screen. Users can import a video through an URL or even upload a series of images to make into a video. They can then add the voice overs of their choice, sync audio and video, and even download a platform specific output.
Natural language processing can have different applications in the same tool, like text to speech in Google slides. With the Murf add on for Google slides, you can add realistic voice overs to your presentation. In Google Slides itself, you can also use Google text to speech to add speaker notes.
In summary, every text to speech tool serves some needs better than others. Google text to speech is easy to set up and use. It is popular for web speech api applications like screen reading and generating audio files in seconds. It can be integrated into real time daily applications like meetings, multi tasking and speech services with an audio output. It is also inbuilt in all android devices. The Google TTS documentation aids in the integration of its APIs across the board.
However, it has some drawbacks.
In these cases, Murf is a more suitable alternative. With a curated library of 130+ emotive voices, each with dashboard metrics like voice changer, emphasis, pitch, speed and intonation, Murf has a voice for every need. Murf also has a phoneme led tool to ensure perfect custom and technical pronunciations. Finally, Murf Studio is a feature-rich and minimalist web platform that allows creators to manage their entire workflow in one place, from syncing audio and video tracks, editing voice overs to working collaboratively.
Google text to speech is available as an API that can be integrated into any device and used to read text out loud or convert text to speech in multiple languages and voice styles.
No, google text to speech is not available for free. The service is priced based on the number of characters needed to be synthesized into audio per month.
Yes, Google offers a text to speech service that can convert text to natural-sounding speech in 220+ voices across 40+ languages and variants.
Read more about the best text to speech software, best text to speech chrome extensions, and best text to speech apps available online and their advantages.
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