SoundGecko Transcribes Written Content Into Audio Files

Vanessa Tan
10:30 pm on Jul 26, 2012

We’re seeing more and more impressive startups coming from down under, and SoundGecko is one which has captivated us once again. A couple of months back while I was jogging, I wondered if there was a service out there to help transcribe articles into audio. My hope was that I would be able to take written web content and listen to it while jogging. And SoundGecko does that.

The Melbourne-based startup is a text-to-audio transcribing service which allows you to listen to written content while on-the-go. It can be done in three simple steps:

  1. Find the article on the internet.
  2. Upload the article onto SoundGecko.
  3. You can then listen to the articles anytime you wish, while on-the-go.

Users are able to use the service without signing up, but it has benefits when you do so. You will be able to link your Google Drive or Dropbox account to SoundGecko, and it will automatically place a copy of the mp3 audio file on your SoundGecko cloud drive. You can also download the startup’s iPhone app to listen the playback of the articles that you have submitted.

SoundGecko utilizes content abstraction algorithms that analyze the page to work out which segment is content, and it also generates the summary that you receive when the mp3 audio file is sent to you. I thought it would be pretty troublesome to manually submit articles before it gets transcribed into mp3 audio files, but co-founder Edward Hooper tells us the startup’s upcoming plans to enhance the entire transcribing experience:

[At] present all files must be manually added either through email, the website or our Chrome plugin. We plan to introduce a RSS subscription feature to help people stay up to date with commonly updated topics.

And to female readers out there, this service is an added bonus because the transcribed audio is that of a male’s voice. Ed tells us that it was chosen based on user feedback for quality and clarity, but will explore adding voices and languages preferences for their services.

SoundGecko is the first product launched by the guys behind 121cast, a free personalized and interactive radio station startup. It is also under the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) and has also recently been shortlisted under the Optus Innov8 seed fund program.

I thought it serves as a good alternative to getting information out of written content on the web without straining your eyes. It allows one to multitask more efficiently, and I’m eagerly waiting for the startup to introduce its RSS subscription feature soon. I’ve also transcribed an article which I wrote yesterday on IndexMedia Pips, which you can listen to here.

For interested users, you can visit SoundGecko and try out its services here.

  • AppUser

    Sound Gecko still has a way to go before coming functional. The voice sounds terrible and speaks slower than the time it takes to just read the article. It also seems like a data grab that you must enter an email address in order to access audio, which isn’t even sent as an attachment to the email. Very sceptical about what this App is all about. There are better products out there.

  • Long Zheng

    Hi AppUser, Long from SoundGecko here.

    Thanks for the feedback. We’re actively investigating better voices for our service. We know some people prefer a faster playback rate which is why in mobile apps like our iOS app you have the ability to speed it up. Unfortunately we can’t provide this control natively in MP3.

    We use the email address as an account identifier, and because everyone has email, it also means you don’t have to register to try it out. We do not use the email for any other purpose than to provide the SoundGecko service.

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