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October 4, 2012 / carlispina

Convert Online Articles to Recordings with SoundGecko

SoundGecko LogoWith so much content published online on any given day, it is impossible to keep up with all of it. Even if it were possible to read 24 hours a day, there is no way to find and read everything of interest on the internet. SoundGecko tries to make it a bit easier to keep up with at least some of this content by converting online articles to mp3s of spoken readings that can be listened to on any device that plays mp3s.

SoundGecko aims to make the process of converting text to speech easy for users and as such there are several ways to both convert content and to access the resulting sound recordings. Articles can be sent to SoundGecko for conversion by inputing them on the homepage, which doesn’t even require users to create an account, or by emailing the link to go@soundgecko.com. Alternatively, Chrome users can install a SoundGecko plugin that will send web content to SoundGecko with a single click while browsing the internet. Once the mp3 is available, you can listen to it from a link that is emailed to you, set up a podcast of your SoundGecko recordings or receive an email digest of an RSS feed of all of the content SoundGecko converts for you. Recordings can also be automatically synced to your Google Drive or DropBox account to access your files from any web-enabled device. If you want to listen to the recordings on your mobile device, SoundGecko has apps available for both Windows Phones and iPhones, with an Android app on the way. Power users of SoundGecko can also upgrade to one of the available subscription plans. While a free account allows users to convert 30 articles (up to a 4,000 word limit) a day and 1 RSS feed, paying $4.95 a month for a Plus Account or $7.95 a month for a Pro Account allows for heavier use. Plus Accounts allow users to convert 100 articles (the word limit may soon increase to 6,000 words) a day and up to 6 RSS feeds and will soon also allow for the conversion of PDFs. Pro Accounts allow the same number of articles but up to 30 RSS feeds and will soon have an increased word limit of 30,000 words and the ability to convert both PDFs and documents that are sent to SoundGecko as email attachments.

Personally, I think the free option will suffice for most users. Converting articles is very speedy, with most taking less than a minute. The text-to-speech conversion is about as one would expect. I found it to be understandable, though it is definitely a computerized sounding voice that some users may find annoying. As with most computerized voices, some words are mispronounced and it is difficult to distinguish headings and quotations from the rest of the text, but overall, it is possible to follow the recording with ease. I was also pleased to discover that it did a good job of identifying and reading only the article text, without getting confused by surrounding content, though I am sure that this will vary from website to website depending on how well the site is structured. For those who find that they have more time to listen to content than they do to read, SoundGecko is a nice free option for generating recordings of articles that are found online.

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