Have you been in the middle of reading an article and your brain just shuts off? Sometimes your mind still craves information and knowledge, but the act of reading the words is just too much to handle. I understand; I have been there too. Sometimes I just want to know more, but due to lack of sleep or staring at a computer monitor at work all day, I just can’t seem to focus on whatever I am reading. If only I could convince someone to come and read material aloud for me, life would be a whole lot easier.
Well, there isn’t someone who will sit around and read stuff to you; however, there is something that will. That is a terrific Chrome extension called Announcify. With Announcify, we can rest our tired eyes and let the robots handle the reading for us. It’s like being able to turn every article on the Internet into an audio book. All that’s missing are the professional voice actors.
Installing Announcify is remarkably easy, but sadly, you will have to read to install the app. Simply head over to the application page on the Google Chrome Webstore and click the large “Add to Chrome” button. It will take a few seconds, and you will be ready to retire from reading for the rest of your life.
Using The Extension
Using Announcify is incredibly easy. First, open a tab of the article you would like Announcify to read.
On the top right of your screen, there is an icon that looks like a red alien face. If you click that little alien, Announcify will open a new tab and begin loading the story and waking the robots up to get to work.
After a few seconds of loading, the reading robot will tell you the title of the article and it will begin reading it aloud. One of the incredibly smart things the developers implemented is a blurring effect on the parts that you are not reading. This keeps your eyes on the area that the robot is reading. After all, you don’t want to get ahead of the robot or he will get seriously angry. Have you seen the movie iRobot with Will Smith? The last thing we need is a collection of angry and scholarly robots on our hands.
The voice of the robot does not sound human. It is easy to understand, but it lacks the natural feel. Fortunately, the developers included settings that allow you to customize the way your robot talks.
The developers let you tweak the pitch and speed of your personal reading robot. To access the settings, right-click the extension icon and click options. You can make him talk slower or faster. In addition, you can change the pitch of the voice.
I found that the default pitch (1.00) and slightly sped up (1.75) worked best for me. Of course, everyone will have their own preferences, and that is why it is so critical to have custom settings.
You can also raise and lower the volume of the robot. This way you do not have to mess with your system volume. Lastly, you can click the “Speak” button to hear how it will sound when reading.
This is an excellent application for people who are lazy, like me. For the most part, I love to read, but sometimes I just don’t feel like it, and when that happens, Announcify is exceptionally convenient.
Try the app, and let us know what you think in the comments. Please be courteous to your robot though, because we don’t need a robot apocalypse right now.
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