One thing you would wish to get your work done would be if you get the superpower to do things at 3x or 4x or maybe even 5x.
Well, if you work on a computer then this is quite possible. In a normal workday, I have to read tons of emails, dozens of blog posts and n number of social media posts, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
If I spend three hours on just reading these things, I would be only spending one hour, if I could do it 3x faster.
This is actually possible, thanks to speed reading tools like Speechify, a great Chrome extension I came across a few months ago.
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You just have to install it in your Google Chrome browser and whenever you are on a page or on your inside your gmail account you get up play button simply play that button and it will speak back the entire thing to you.
You can select the speakers, the speed, and a bunch of other features that are well designed.
But the problem with Speechify is, it’s based on a SaaS (software as a service) model, where you have to pay a monthly fee. I’m already having a lot of monthly subscriptions I don’t want one more service.
Speechify Chrome Extension does offer free tear where you have limited usage everyday, it’s like able to read one email for you and after that you are back to the robotic voices.
But the very essence of Speechify chrome extension is that it let’s you choose a premium voice. (they even have Snoop Dog’s voice).
If you had to use a robotic voice you can use the inbuilt voices of your computers or other chrome extensions that after robotic voices.
But here’s a Free Alternative
After getting frustrated about finishing my daily limit on specify by just after one email I was searching for an alternative I found a few but all of them were either premium or offered standard voices.
This Chrome Extension let you use the voices from google. And it’s free to use the voices all you have to do is get the api key from Google Cloud for a particular service.
You can follow their documentation which is pretty easy to follow to get your API key. The good thing about using google cloud API key for text to the speech, you can use their recently added neural voices which are natural human like voices, for free. You can check the amount here
You get 1 million character per month for free, if you use neural to voices which are pretty amazing. If you are using beyond that, it is $16 per 1 million characters which is still cheap.
Here is a rough calculation how much 1 million characters would be in pages.
1,000,000 characters / 5 characters per word = 200,000 words
200,000 words / 300 words per page = approximately 666 pages
So you can read that many articles for free and after that it cost $16 for another 600 articles.
And these are credits that you get every month, and you will only be charged when you exhaust them, and continue using it.
Google is offering their text to speech services for to developers to create applications, but this chrome extensions let’s users like you and me to use this service via API without having to pay heavy for apps, that might be using these API keys in the backend.
However there is one downside of using Wavenet for Chrome, its two simple, there isn’t even a Start Speaking/Stop Speaking button. You have to highlight the text, right click, go to Wavenet for Chrome, and then click on Start speaking.
If you have to stop speaking you have to follow the same process and then click on Stop speaking. So here is another chrome extension that actually has got a button to start and stop playing whenever you want.
You can use this right after installing this chrome extension, and you have a lot of voice is to choose from. It even gives a thousand characters free if you use the premium voices from Amazon.
But then if you select voices from the dropdown menu, and go way down it has an option to enable custom voices.
This chrome extension gives you the option to use your own API for custom voices for example you can use API from Google Cloud Platform, which will add neural voices to the list and you can choose any voice.
You still have that one million character limit, so you are basically using a premium voice, with an option to start and stop speaking by clicking on a button, without having to pay a monthly subscription fee.
Surely this chromic sanction is nothing like Speechify, but if you don’t want to add another monthly subscription to your card, any still want to be productive by doing things 3x or even 5x faster, this is the best alternative you have got.