If you do a lot of reading on the Web, haven’t you felt the necessity of a service that could read the article out to you? In fact, wouldn’t it be cool if you could receive information and updates on specific topics even if you are on the move? And wouldn’t it be uber-cool if those updates are delivered on your iPod/iPhone/Smart-Phone/Mp3 Player and you can listen to it as you do some mundane physical task? Need it be mentioned how helpful it would be for people with vision impairment and other reading related disabilities. There are some text-to-speech tools that can be used to help you not just listen but also hear on the Web. Odiogo is one such Web-based text-to-speech tool for Web 2.0 sites.
Text-to-speech tool such as Odiogo allows publishers (mainstream media as well as bloggers) to transform textual data to audio files that can be played online or e downloaded to local devices. What the tool actually does is that it takes the RSS feeds and transforms the textual content into podcast that visitors can actually listen to and subscribe for updates. Additionally, these audio files can also be downloaded as individual MP3 files and played on any device that supports the MP3 format.Website owners, bloggers planning to jump on the Web .2.0 bandwagon can use this tool to create rich and varied user experience, increase accessibility and provide content across multiple paltforms and multiple devices, all of which characterize the Web 2.0 meme. Further, converting textual data to podcast can not only help content travel to consumers across platforms it can also be of great help to people with physical and mental disabilities like vision impairment and dyslexia.
If you are into blogging and on some of the popular platforms like WordPress, Blogger, TypePad,or BlogEngine.NET adding Odiogo support is as easy it could get. I will take blogger as an example to demonstrate how you can convert your RSS feed into audio files.The first task, of course, would be to go to http://www.Odiogo.com and sign up. It does not ask for a lot of information, all you need to provide is your email address and the URL of your blog or of your feed.
Do note that this requires your RSS feed to carry full text. In Blogger you can enable RSS feeds for full text as well as a short one by setting the “Allow Blog Feed” option to “Full”. To access this option, go to “Dashboard” and click on the “Settings” of the blog you want to enable full RSS for. Then select “Site Feed” tab and you are presented with options to control feeds from your blog.
If you have submitted the correct URL and email address, Odiogo mails you right after generating audio version of your feed. The mail contains detailed information on your Odigo account and how you can use the podcast. With blogger, you can simply add the Blogger/Odiogo plugin by clicking on the link provided in the mail.
Save your blog and view it, you will notice a button labeled “Listen Now” appearing on top of every post, click on play and listen to the content instead of reading it.
That was about transforming your content into audio files, Odiogo also helps you keep your subscribers updated. The Odiogo subscription button takes you to the feeds page of your blog on Odiogo from where your visitors can subscribe to your content through the service as well as the device of their choice. If your subscribers use Content Aggregators or Web Readers (Google Reader, My Yahoo) , Social Networking (Facebook), Social Bookmarking (Del.icio.us, Digg) sites all they need to do is select the feed for the particular aggregator from your feeds page , for example, to add an article to My Yahoo, the visitor needs to just click on the My Yahoo button.
But the real advantage that Odiogo offers is the functionality to convert textual content into audio files and make it available to subscribers as iTunes and/or MP3 which also implies that subscribers would be able to receive updates in multiple devices including iPod, iPhone, smart phones and mp3 players, taking your content to a much larger user-base than could be imagined previously.