Web Talk on the Fly

Today, from Sweden, VoiceCorp announced the release of webReader, a server-site solution that speech-enables Web sites and blogs on-the-fly.

VoiceCorp’s chief information officer and cofounder, Roy Lindemann, already touts the success of ReadSpeaker, the company’s flagship text-to-speech solution aimed at larger enterprises and organizations; but with the release of webReader, he and VoiceCorp are looking to get a leather wingtip in the smaller-scale and consumer markets' door. 

“We’re already known for ReadSpeaker,” Lindemann says, “…but in the last couple of months we’ve been getting more and more feedback from long-tail Web sites and blogs that also wanted our technology at an affordable price.”

Lindemann claims that VoiceCorp has been getting inquiries about making its products accessible and affordable on a smaller scale from a number of Web sites and blogs, and across a wide swath of interests and focuses.

“The market basically told us there was another segment here we had to find a solution for,” he says.

Right from its launch, webReader will be available in U.S. and U.K. English,  French, and Swedish. In the coming weeks, VoiceCorp expects to add Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, and Portuguese language capabilities. For each language, users will have a choice of two standard voices, one male and one female.

To facilitate easier use—and, at least ostensibly, to increase market penetration—the company has developed a number of ready-made plug-ins for a number of popular platforms, including: Blogger, Blogspot, Typepad, Ning, Joomla, and Wordpress. It also provides copy-and-paste HTML code for the application.

Wherever a user implements the plug-in or the code, a “listen” button is introduced. The button, in turn, launches a player that plays the text content as speech. The player requires no additional software or plug-ins to play on most visitors’ computers. Webhosts can define the length of their content, either letting webReader speak a page in its entirety or constraining the spoken file to a smaller segment.The sound files are hosted on VoiceCorp’s servers.

WebReader is available to users in two forms; either through a subscription-based service via VoiceCorp’s automated Web shop, or, for personal users, through a free ad-supported service. In the ad-supported service’s case, a half-sized banner will be found alongside the player. In the future, VoiceCorp may also include pre- and post-roll audio ads as well.


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