I remember when Amazon’s Kindle first rolled out with the feature of reading text aloud. Kindle’s computerized voice sounded like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The idea was nice, but that flat, robotic voice didn’t exactly ratchet up the tension in a mystery novel or deliver the passion and tenderness in a romance novel.
Thankfully, audio technology has come a long way since those days. Leslie Bradshaw, a prominent social media innovator and former president and co-founder of JESS3, left her company to become COO for Guide. Guide technology transforms text into living audio and video. For instance, instead of reading this article you can enable Guide’s streaming technology, and a digital avatar will read the article to you.
So imagine yourself on the treadmill. Instead of trying to read a TMCnet article on your tablet and giving fits to your eyes and neck muscles while you run, you could use the Guide app to convert the text of your news article into audio read by an avatar. Bradshaw says that the beauty of Guide is its ability to convert content into the format that people want no matter where they are.
The idea works not only for the consumption of content but also for the delivery of content in a whole new way. I’m a blogger, and I scramble for page views knowing that my readers have to carve out time to actually sit still with their computers or mobile devices and gaze at my thoughtfully designed page. If my readers were cooking dinner and were able to use Guide, then my friendly avatar could read the content to them. Readership would jump because of the convenience of not having to stop all activities and connect with the page.
Think of the advantages for newspapers and magazines, which have found their circulation lagging over the past few years. When you don’t have time to sit down to read the morning paper, you can listen to the articles while you get ready for work thanks to the Guide app.
Bradshaw wants to start by wooing users to try Guide. She then plans to go to media companies that can both use and promote the technology. At the end of the process, she hopes to see Guide pre-installed on most computers and mobile devices. And the technology could revolutionize content delivery.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli