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Google Text-to-Speech Receives Massive 3.0 Update – Hasta la Vista, Robot Voice

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If you have ever used Google Maps or any other service relying on the on-board text-to-speech software, you have probably encountered the famous Google robot voice. Even Apple’s Siri has more natural-sounding voices of both the male and female variety, so it’s about time we get some new vocals from the Mountain View boys and girls. This is where Text-to-Speech 3.0 comes in – packing an improved UI, cleaner voices, and support for more languages, this update is pretty substantial.

The most important feature of the update is probably the availability of high-quality voices for users. This is a godsend for those of you who have your device read books to you, for example, as now you’ll be able to actually concentrate on the content rather than curse the speaker. We now have improved voices for a variety of languages, but be careful when downloading these – some of these weigh in at over 200+MB. The difference between old and new isn’t too impressive, but this is a welcome change nonetheless.

I have been having issues getting the new voices to work in some applications, like Google Now, but hopefully they will begin to kick in as time goes on.

Another major part of this update is the improved user interface. Still featuring holo blue, the app’s screen for management of voices has been redone to be more simple. You now see how large a language pack is before initiating the download, for one. Other than that, there’s not much to this enhancement other than the fact that everything looks a bit simpler now.

Rounding out the update is the inclusion of two new languages, for you foreign readers out there. We have Portugese (Brazil), and Spanish (United States) to listen to.

The TTS update is rolling out via Google Play over the next few days, but we do have an APK file for sideloading on your device. Be sure to enable “Unknown Sources” in the Security menu of Settings on your device, and then install this APK just as you would any other.

Play Link | Download (version 3.0.10.1047791)

  • cizzlen

    Funny, I thought the update included an actual “Robot” voice and got all excited. Commas, man.

  • Droid Ronin

    Good update, I was tired of my calendar appointments being read to me in a robotic voice.

  • gambit07

    Wow, the UK women’s HQ voice is incredibly natural sounding. I didn’t think the voices sounded horrible before, but at least in Google Now that voice is phenomenal.

  • https://www.facebook.com/christopher.johnsc chris_johns

    i like the robot voice…

  • Keith Taylor

    Would love to have the voice from the house in the tv show Eureka.

  • Hawk888

    I must be missing something, where do you download the high quality voices?

  • Joe Woodward

    I tried the high quality US one. It sounds a little better but I noticed it takes like 75% longer to start talking. Anyone else experiencing that?

  • harryballs

    I’ve used svox classic for years. Sounds very natural and still a lot better then this new Google voice!

  • Stacey

    Eh, to be honest the new voice has been on iOS Google apps for a while. Not trying to be a douche, but Android is just getting this is a bit strange…

  • Jake

    I can hear the difference between the old and new English (US) voices when I play the sample within the TTS app. However, Google Now and the moto x’s Touchless Control (especially) still sound robotic. I’ll try navigation tomorrow.

  • http://www.twitter.com/SexciiP JaQuez Avondre

    All in all I just tested it out, and the voices on my S4 sound the same. I see no differences…

    • Rechie

      Not really supposed to see it, you’re supposed to hear it.

      • http://www.twitter.com/SexciiP JaQuez Avondre

        That smart-a** comment wasn’t called for. You know what the f*** I meant when i said that. But like I said I tested it and there’s no f***ing difference.

        • ratnok

          Wow man. I agree with you, but did you really need to go that hard?

          • http://www.twitter.com/SexciiP JaQuez Avondre

            He’ll be alright; he deserved it. I was really trying to be serious, in hopes that someone with some sense would maybe come along and give an explanation as to why it’s not working, or just say something intelligent, but instead this douche wanted to be dumb leave a smart-a** comment that wasn’t called for. I can’t stand people who do that. It’s not cool at all man.

          • J. Gilbertson

            You mad bro? Chill out. There are way worse trolls on this site that say much dumber stuff.

          • Rechie

            I don’t want to be dumb like you just did with that post. These days not a lot of people appreciate proper semantics. Think about what you say at least. Make proper SENSE.

          • http://www.twitter.com/SexciiP JaQuez Avondre

            Excuse me, but I think the only dumb one over here is you. You’re the one who’s making smart-a** comments when I clearly didn’t ask your opinion of anything. Nor did I need you to correct me. And if you couldn’t comprehend anything that I’ve said, well that sounds like a YOU problem. Lil’ B*tch.

  • Adam

    Anybody know why the book I’m reading (Game of Thrones) “google play books” doesn’t have a “read aloud” option in the settings menu?
    Do some books just not allow “read aloud”? It’s driving me crazy. I can’t find a fix online…

    • Ryan Kerr

      I was having the same problem this evening and this was the only comment I could find about it too. Kind of irritating.

  • teeerex

    What crack these guys smoking…google now sounds way more realistic than siri…siri is big time robotic sounding!!

    • Chris
      • teeerex

        That’s not bad…a lot better then previous years. I think it’s pretty close to google now’s naturally sounding voice.

      • NOT RahmEmanuel

        Ok, but that’s an ideal example: TTS with an scripted response. When you know the text in advance, it’s easy to record or generate a voice with appropriate pronunciation, inflection and pauses.

        The tough part is impromptu speech. Try Siri in something like hands-free mode (i.e.: reading your email, voicemail or text messages) and the result is far less natural-sounding.
        .

  • Sean Bello

    I downloaded the high quality language pack and rebooted and don’t notice any difference at all. Is it only for certain things? I’m using Google Now.

  • pilot

    just downloaded 3.0 and sounds the same to me.

    • Albert

      You need to download the high quality language pack in the language and input settings.

      • pilot

        thanks for the tip but I did that. Still sounds the same to me.

        • Cael

          Agreed. The British voices sound much more natural the the American one.

  • Travis Halfman

    I switched to UK HD but navigation is still Robot Voice.

    • pilot

      yeah, there is no change for the US version either. I have listened to both of them side by side on two phones and the difference is so negligent its unnoticeable.

    • NOT RahmEmanuel

      I’d bet some core apps have to be updated before they can use the new TTS settings.
      .

  • Wayne

    Umm. The English United States voice has sounded very life-like for a long time now. Not sure about the other voices since, well, I don’t use them.

    • NAblencesee

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  • tu3218

    The high quality updated version is definitely more fluent in articulating sentences. I was comparing the two, and the original is more robotic like. Not a huge difference, but a decent update.

  • http://dexterslab.wikia.com/wiki/Mandark Mandark

    mmmmm

  • anon

    You actually think that Siri sounds more natural than Android’s pre 3.0 voice??? Really??? I think Android’s is the most natural one I have heard.

    • http://droid-life.com/ Rthvk

      Those iOS 7 voices are pretty legit :P

      • niuguy

        Sorry, no way. Siri sounds terrible compared to Android.

        • Albert

          Agreed

        • Chris

          I take you havn’t heard the new voice.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBxc0a69QZM

          • George264

            That sounds really natural.

          • Maxim∑

            shhh they won’t admit it. Let them live in there little world

          • Chris

            true. kind of sad how blind people can be……

            thats what fanboyism does to you…… at least behind the computer screen. In the real world though thats a different story.

          • Intellectua1

            Lol

          • NOT RahmEmanuel

            Maybe, but as I’ve noted above he’s offered a poor example for comparison.

            http://www.droid-life.com/2014/03/06/google-text-to-speech-receives-massive-3-0-update-hasta-la-vista-robot-voice/#comment-1274472843

            BTW: In everyone’s world, the possessive form of ‘them’ is their …not there. ;-)
            .

          • cizzlen

            NO!!! Android is the best at everything!!!1! /s

        • Maxim∑

          I have to heavily disagree. If your on iOS 7 and using the english siri it has the most natural computer voice I have ever heard. Now go to a less common language and yes I agree kind of

        • Jorge Alfonso

          Ok big deal it’s his opinion, go get some midol since you got so offended about what he said smh

      • Chris

        the new voice does. the old siri voice was pretty bad.

    • LionStone

      Even my iPhone buddy says that Siri is more robotic but he also said just recently that it sounds a little smoother.

    • Christen Lawson

      my&nbspclassmate’s&nbspmother&nbspΜ­­­­­­а­­­­­­K­­­­­­е­­­­­­ѕ&nbsp$­­­­­­­­­­­­68/հ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­r&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspс­­­­­­ο­­­­­­Μ­­­­­­ρ­­­­­­ս­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r.&nbspShe&nbsphas&nbspbeen&nbspunemployed&nbspfor&nbspeight&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ&nbspbut&nbsplast&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ&nbspher&nbspρ­­­­­­а­­­­У&nbspcheck&nbspwas&nbsp$­­­­­­­­­­­­16364&nbspjust&nbspW­­­­­­ο­­­­­­r­­­­­­King&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspс­­­­­­ο­­­­­­Μ­­­­­­ρ­­­­­­ս­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r&nbspfor&nbspa&nbspϜ­­­­­­е­­­­­­W&nbspհ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­rs.&nbspread&nbspreview,..&nbsphttp://Googlejobcreation2014realher194

      ◆◆◆ ◆䷚◆◆ ◆◆◆ ◆◆�◆ ◆◆◆Not sure about the other voices since, well, I don’t use them.

      • Patrick Jewell

        wow so believable!

  • wills96

    I wish they’d get some actual voice actors. I’d love to have Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Brian from Family Guy…

    • ReturnOfTheMack

      Jarvis

      • Adam Martinez

        GLaDOS or nothing.

        • El_Big_CHRIS

          cortana! wait…

        • Nick Silver

          Oh please god yes!

        • ProZomby

          Morgan Freeman

          • Colton

            HAL

      • michael arazan

        Majel Roddenberry from Star Trek would be pretty awesome too, but Jarvis first and foremost

        • Jordan Webb

          Majel died in 2008, sadly.

    • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

      Waze had a Kevin Hart option

      • droidify

        Yeah… I thought I would like it until I was half way home. I nearly threw my phone out the window

    • Kevin

      Lil John

      • ratnok

        Yeaaaahhhh! What? OOOHHHHKAY!

    • Chris

      ” or Brian from Family Guy”

      you mean Seth MacFarlane

      • michael arazan

        Stewie would be better, would love the insults when you miss a turn driving

    • Edward Smith

      Majel Barett Roddenberry.
      I will trust no other voice navigating my starship… I mean car.

      Kinda expected to hear her voice after it was called Project Majel for awhile.

      • Jordan Webb

        She died in 2008.

        • Edward Smith

          Yes but she did TONS of recorded voice work. Between her SAG work and railroad voice work there should be more than enough samples for an excellent simulation.

    • michael arazan

      Would like mine to speak Brad Pitt’s Gypsy Dialect from the Movie Snatch, so no ones what it’s saying.

      I also would love dialects from Britain and Scotland, met a girl from Coventry and could not for the life of me understand what the heck she was saying, even though it was English

    • Brandon

      I think it was either Garmin or TomTom that did this and you could have someone like Snoop Dogg navigate you to your destination.