Microsoft Edge now has a realistic human voice

Microsoft Edge can now read websites aloud to you using voices so natural, they could be mistaken for real people.

The new voices are included in the latest Edge Insider builds, and we expect it to appear in the release version very soon. To give them a try, grab either the Developer or Canary build, navigate to a site, select a chunk of text, right-click and click 'Read aloud selection'.

You'll be given various voices to choose from. Some of these sound a little clunky and robotic, but the new options marked 'online' sound surprisingly lifelike. According to Microsoft, “Powered by deep neural networks, these voices are the most natural sounding voices available today.”

That's because they use the JavaScript SpeechSynthesis API, which lets developers create realistic speech online. You'll need an internet connection to use the new voices, but since you're already browsing the web, that shouldn't be a problem.

The voices are still in testing, so you might run into a few issues, but in our tests they worked flawlessly.

Listen up

A speaking browser can make everyday web browsing much easier if you have dyslexia or a vision impairment. It can also be handy if you're learning a second language, or just have your hands full and want to catch up on the news while you're busy with something else.

Many other applications (such as Amazon Kindle for PC and Microsoft Office) can also read text out loud, but if your favorite apps don't support it, check out our guide to the best free text-to-speech software.


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