Back in March of this year, Google unveiled one of the coolest software features for Android that we’ve seen in quite some time. This new feature gave users the ability to listen back to website content with a simple request to the Google Assistant. After requesting, “Hey, Google. Read this page,” a full-blown media player interface would take over the screen and begin to read aloud the entire contents of the website. With meta data in the proper place, it could even properly parse the author’s name and the date of the publication. Nevermind the fact that the vocals on the audio are some of the most human-sounding I’ve ever heard as well.
While I admit I’ve not used it terribly often, I also don’t have a regular commute or walk each day for work or school. I imagine if I did, I’d have quite a few longer articles queued up for audio playback during those trips. As I titled the original post back in March, this feature quite literally turns the entire internet into your personal audio book and it is pretty fantastic.
Now arriving on iOS
In a tweet yesterday, Google announced that it is bringing the same feature over to iOS – albeit without the flare or flexibility you get on Android. In this iteration, the feature is contained to the Google app on iPhones and isn’t controlled by your voice or any digital assistant. Instead, there’s a simple icon up top when you are browsing content in the Google feed that gives way to the same type of interface we’ve been enjoying over here on the Android side of things for about 6 months now. Check it out!
It needs to be said again that, unlike Android, this feature only exists inside the Google app and not on any web browsers like Google Chrome on iOS. It’s an inferior version of what we have on Android, sure, but it is still awesome to see Google bringing amazing features like this to other platforms in creative ways. The day will likely never come that we see full Google Assistant integration on iPhones, but little moves like this continue to make the Google app a must-have on iOS if you are in any way intertwined in Google’s ecosystem.