American media behemoth The Tribune Company (‘Tribune’) has launched an interesting new service that lets you audio-stream text-based stories from online newspapers.
Newsbeat actually comes courtesy of Tribune Digital Ventures, the technology and innovation arm of Tribune that launched last May. The core raison d’être of Newsbeat is to “reimagine news for mobile”, using human voiceovers and text-to-speech technology.
Available for Android and iOS, Newsbeat says it will stream up to seven thousand stories each day from across the Web. While it does have a US-centric content offering, it also serves up global news tidbits too, though you can’t indicate a specific country other than the US.
You can also narrow things down to specific publications, topics, sports teams, and more. It works just like a standard media player – you can skip forward or back if you miss an audio snippet. And over time, the Newsbeat experience promises to get smarter the more it learns from your listening behavior.
It’s worth noting here that although the technology behind this is all very clever ‘n all, there is something quite irritating about having robotic, non-human voices reading you the news. But that might not bother everyone.
While Newsbeat is free to use, you will encounter audio-based adverts.