Web Tool Lets Users Hear News, Blog Text

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SAN FRANCISCO – Odiogo.com is launching a Web 2.0 service that will allow media and blog publishers to provide visitors to their Web sites with a way to hear regular text articles. Located near the familiar Email and Print buttons on the top of each article, the “Listen Button,” when clicked, will open a media player that will read aloud the article. Files can be played over a standard computer, or downloaded to a mobile phone or MP3 player.
To create the audio files, Odiogo monitors the RSS feeds of its content partners and automatically converts them to high-fidelity audio files using text-to-speech technology from NeoSpeech. Conversion takes just a few minutes from when the RSS feed goes live.

For pronunciation errors in the audio files, the content creators can call in corrections. Odiogo’s programmers manually enter new words and pronunciations into the system quite frequently

The service is currently available only in English, but other languages are expected to be added soon, says Marc Kawam, CEO of Odiogo.com.
Files are hosted on Odiogo's servers. There are no programs to download for the content providers or readers, and no fees for use. Kawam’s goal is to have the entire service paid for with advertiser support through recorded spots embedded at the beginning or end of the audio stream.

"With the PC entering the living room as the brain of the home multimedia center, text content providers need tools which seamlessly turn readers into listeners," says Kawam. "Our Podcast solutions and the Listen Button empower content providers to mobilize and boost the value of their text content by making it instantly audible. It will make textual content much more dynamic.”

"This audio feature is fast becoming a must-have capability for content sites," he continues. "This is an essential feature for a multitasking environment, where people can listen to articles from their favorite sites while working on their computer or performing other tasks. The Listen Button also expands the reach of a content site by allowing vision-impaired readers and language learners to easily access the site's content."

The Listen Button is already featured on sites run by The Red Ferret Journal, Stacy Blackman Consulting, Prompt! Speech Applications, UNEASYsilence, The Jerusalem Post, and Odiogo.

"The Listen Button is a very cool way for my readers to grab a dose of the blog while they're busy doing other things on their PC at home or in the office,” says Nigel Powell, publisher of The Red Ferret Journal.

"Readers of Stacy Blackman Consulting's blog are MBA candidates who are constantly on the move and have limited time online. Odiogo provides them not only with a way to listen to the posts on their iPod but also when they are online while multitasking,” says Stacy Blackman from Stacy Blackman Consulting.

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