How to listen to the headlines from web sites and add articles from them?

1. In the Headlines tab of the app add a home page or some other site section that contains headlines or site’s RSS feed using the ‘+’ button. You will see three options:

  • Popular Sites – first pick the category of the site (e.g. Sports, News) and then check all the sites that you want to follow from that category.
  • Web Site – find the web site with Google and when it is opened click on the ‘Add’ button.
  • Type Address – type in the address of the feed or web site to add it

2. Tap on the item and the app will start to read the headlines from the page

3. To add linked articles you can long tap on the item to display the context menu and pick “Add to Articles & Books”.

4. You can even add articles while the screen is off (e.g. when you are using headphones and walking or while driving and the app speaks through connected Bluetooth speaker).

  • First go to the Extras tab then to the Settings and finally to Button Functions in the Headlines subsection. Set the action of the Next button to ‘Add to Articles & Books’.
  • When the item is read and the screen is off hit the next button to add the article related to it to the Articles tab. On the headphones the next button is invoked by double clicking on the center button.
  • When reading of headline item(s) is completed, the app will proceed to read the article items that you have added in the previous step.

How to read aloud web pages from Chrome, Twitter and other apps?

1. Invoke sharing of the link – in Chrome it is done by pressing the ‘…’ button in the toolbar and picking ‘Share’ from the menu.

3. Tap on Speech Central. The app icon may not be displayed in the set of apps on the first page, but you can swipe left to browse all available pages.

4. Tap on ‘Listen Now’.

5. The web page is added to the end of the Articles tab and read aloud.

How to open files from Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box etc?

1. When file is stored on the storage other than Google Drive ensure that you have installed the required storage app from Google Play (e.g. Dropbox app) and after that log in to that app.

2. In the Articles & Books tab tap the ‘+’ button and then ‘Import File’
3. Using the ‘hamburger’ button in the top left pick the storage from which you want to import the file
4. Find and select the file to import.

How to change the language of the item?

The language of the item is automatically detected based on its text. If the language is not properly detected it may be changed on the Item edit page. This page can be opened:

How to change the voice?

When the item is playing press the Settings icon in the bottom toolbar (second from the left). Click on the voice and chose the voice that you like from the list.

  1. On the main screen long press the item and pick ‘Edit’
  2. From the player screen by pressing the ‘…’ button (in the top right of the screen) and picking ‘Edit’.

How to use the app in an accessible way?

  • From the Extras tab open Settings.
  • By tapping on the ‘Button functions…’ (available separately for Headlines and Books & Articles) you can customize on what Previous/Next/Skip forward/Skip back/Quick volume up-down/Quick volume down-up do.
  • Assigning command to quick volume down-up and volume up-down works with the device volume buttons so that’s an interesting accessible option available to everyone
  • Customization also affects the buttons on the screen. The iPhone it may show more buttons in the landscape mode which may be more useful.
  • Finally customization of buttons goes a bit beyond just navigation so you can also add some commands like bookmarking or adding the article linked to the currently read title from Headlines to Articles & Books.

What to do if the app is not working?

If you find some specific bug use the support contact to report it.

If the app is not working at all or some major function is not working in most cases there is the problem on your device. The app is tested by Labsii before each release (Google Play performs automatic tests too and some releases are manually checked by them) and it is highly unlikely that such problem may occur.
In most of such cases it is enough to just restart the device to restore the functionality. If it doesn’t help it you may try to reinstall the app. If this still doesn’t help you need to clear app data and cache.

Next thing to check is if Speech Services by Google are working properly. The app won’t be able to use any voice if this app is uninstalled, disabled or not working properly. Google Speech Services are designed to be optimized to support work on very limited hardware capabilities and such architecture makes trade-off with overall stability of text to speech functionality provided by Android. You can check if they are installed on Google Play. In the system settings you can enable them if they are disabled, and if they are not working properly clearing their cache from there should help.

Please ensure that you have tried the options mentioned above. If you still find problems please report the problem to the support.

How to get the API key and region for Microsoft Neural voices?

If you want to first preview voices available on Azure service, you can do this on the official page (the app uses the default style).
  1. Create the Azure account and subscription (note: currently there is a version with free limited tier and paid version) from here.
  2. Create the Speech Service from here
  3. You should be able to see the Speech Service in the Azure Portal. When you open it in the left sidebar there is the option ‘Keys and Endpoints’ that you can use to create and get data about API key.
Please note that:
  • Speech Central is in no way affiliated with Microsoft. Your relationship with Microsoft is in no way connected to your relationship with Speech Central as Speech Central doesn’t take any fee from your eventual payment to Microsoft.
  • Microsoft paid tier is fairly expensive (the price at the moment of writing of this article is 16$/million characters which means that listening to larger books would cost 10$ or more). We have picked to support Microsoft as it has a generous free tier that may be enough for most use cases, most other providers (Amazon, IBM) charge the same amount but don’t have a free tier at the moment.
  • If you use their paid tier it is strongly suggested for you to track your costs in their portal and avoid unpleasant surprises (there is a page ‘Cost Analysis’ that can be activated from the option right below ‘Keys and Endpoints’ that you have used in the previous step).
To activate those voices go to Extras tab > Settings > Voice > Microsoft Neural Voices (activated from the menu at the top right of the screen).

What to do if Microsoft AI voices don’t work?

As Speech Central is not affiliated with Microsoft, you need to contact Microsoft directly for eventual problems in their service. In most of the cases users are hitting the limitation of their free tier and getting the error for that. Most notable limitations of their free tier are:
  1. You can use up to 500,000 characters in the last 30 days. This Information is updated each second so the app is likely to be able to read few sentences now and then if this happens.
  2. You have a limited number of requests in the minute. You shouldn’t be able to hit this limitation by listening to the regular text at the default speed, but you may hit it by frequently skipping the content, listening at high speeds or by some specific context with very short sentences (or combination of all of those).