I was kicking off my daily late-night feed reading as usual, by firing up Netvibes and opening up a bunch of blogs in new tabs, when a computer voice started reading a post from ReadWriteWeb out loud. Besides scaring the hell out of me, it took a while before I realized that the audio snippet actually came from this post on Center Networks and not RWW.
The article teaches us that Swiss-based Dixero has just raised 1,5 million euros for their feed-to-audio conversion technology, bringing their total funding to 3 million euros. Allen Stern from CN embedded a conversion as an example, which started playing automatically. So my first advice for the company if they want to put their fresh funding to good use: loose the autoplay feature, and loose it fast. Having said that, let’s take a look at what Dixero does.
Based in Zürich, Switzerland, Dixero enables you to aggregate your favorite RSS feeds into channels and ‘vocalize’ them, so you can actually listen to blog posts while you’re busy doing other stuff, or download them as podcasts for when you’re on the road (it works on both computers as mobile devices). There’s also some pre-defined channels users can tune into, e.g. the Technology Channel.
Dixero lets you choose between different voices (one male, two female) and lets you categorize blogs into multiple channels. There’s of course also a social component, which lets you share audio clips with your friends easily.
The current voices sound a bit creepy to me, much like HAL 9000 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (“Would you like to play a game of chess?“), and I know it’s a service that I won’t be using myself because I don’t see any added value that would improve my blog consuming experience in any way. But the voices are being worked on, according to the company, and who knows if I’m missing something here that you find incredibly useful for you. If that’s the case, be my guest in the comments and explain why you dig Dixero.