Pocket’s Text-to-Speech ‘Listen’ Feature Updated With More Natural Voice and Easier Controls

Read-it-later app Pocket has announced a few new features coming to the iOS and Android versions of the app today, including an updated text-to-speech ability and a new design.

After updating to Pocket 7.0, users will be able to listen to text-based articles that they've saved in their Pocket list more easily. With the "Listen" feature, articles can be saved into Pocket from around the internet, opened in the app, and played in their entirety through text-to-speech. The updated feature is now more easily accessed through a dedicated headphone icon right on the Pocket main screen.


Pocket's Listen feature is now also more human sounding thanks to Amazon Polly, a cloud service that can convert text into lifelike speech. Because of this, Pocket says that Listen is not limited to any specific publishers or articles, but can be applied to any text articles viewed inside of the Pocket app.
Your Pocket list just became your own personal podcast, curated by you. Our new listen feature frees the content you’ve saved to fit into your busy life. It enables you to absorb articles whenever and wherever, whether you are driving, or walking, working out, cooking, or on the train.
The new update also brings a fresh design to Pocket, which the company says is tailored to ensure that readers can focus on their saved articles. There's a new and cleaner article view right when the app is opened, a new app-wide dark theme and sepia theme, and updated fonts and typography so reading is more comfortable overall.

Earlier in the year, Pocket introduced time estimates for articles and videos into the iOS app, allowing users to see exactly how long it will take them to read each piece of content. The new additions to the app follow Mozilla's acquisition of Pocket in February 2017.

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Pocket Introduces Time Estimates for Articles and Videos in iOS App

The developers behind read-it-later service Pocket this week announced a new update for iOS and Android that will give users a simple but useful glimpse into how long each article will take them to read. After updating to version 6.6.16 on the iOS App Store, the Pocket app for iPhone and iPad will display time estimates "for every article and video" that has been saved.

The time estimates will be located below the titles of each saved piece of content, to the right of the URL. At launch, time estimates are available on devices set to English, but the Pocket team said that it plans to add support for more languages "in the near future." The developer is also working on introducing time estimates to Pocket for Web down the line.

You’ve told us that it would be helpful to know how long it takes to start and finish each item in your list, and now you can! When you open Pocket on your phone or tablet, you’ll see time estimates for every article and video you’ve saved, right below the title.

So the next time you have 3 minutes waiting for an appointment, 10 minutes on your commute, or are unwinding on the couch after a long day, open up Pocket and find a story that suits your moment.
Pocket is a service available across multiple platforms that lets users save any web page to revisit later, be it an article, video, recipe, shopping item, or other similar pieces of content. This way, users can save an article on Safari for iOS using the Share Sheet extension, and then look at it a few days later on the Mac app, even when they're offline.

Just over one year ago Pocket was acquired by Mozilla, and at the time Mozilla stated that the Pocket would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mozilla Corporation and part of the Mozilla open source project. Mozilla said that Pocket's core employees and technology would help accelerate its Context Graph initiative, while promoting the discovery and accessibility of high quality web content.

One of Pocket's biggest rivals in the read-it-later app space is Instapaper, which itself was acquired by Pinterest in 2016.

Pocket is available for free on the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]

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