How to Use Cloud Powered Voices in Microsoft Edge Chormium

Beginning with the most recent Dev and Canary channel releases, preview builds of Microsoft Edge Chromium now include support for 24 cloud powered text to speech voices across 21 different locales. You can use them with Read Aloud.

According to the official blog post, the feedback indicates the voices used in Read Aloud prior to this change were too robotic. To resolve this issue, users were installing different voice packages/language packs. The update makes this process redundant.

Cloud powered voices are powered by Microsoft Cognitive Services. They come in two different styles and can be distinguished from other voices you may have installed on your computer by the fact that they have “Microsoft <voiceName> Online” in their names: 

  • Neural voices  Powered by deep neural networks, these voices are the most natural sounding voices available today. 
  • Standard voices – These voices are the standard online voices offered by Microsoft Cognitive ServicesVoices with “24kbps” in their title will sound clearer compared to other standard voices due to their improved audio bitrate.  

To Use Cloud Powered Voices in Microsoft Edge,

  1. Update your Edge Dev or Canary to the latest available version (see below).
  2. Navigate to a web site.
  3. Select some text on the web page, right click it, and select “Read aloud selection”.
  4. This will start Read Aloud and will also open the Read Aloud menu bar.
  5. Select a voice with the 'Online' suffix (ex: Microsoft Jessa Online (Neutral)).Microsoft Edge Cloud Powered Voices
  6. Adjust the reading speed by clicking on the “Voice options” button.

It’s also worth noting that these voices have been exposed to developers through the JavaScript SpeechSynthesis APIThis means that any web-based text to speech application can leverage them to create more configurable and human sounding experiences in the new version of Microsoft Edge.

Microsoft is currently using three channels to deliver updates to Edge Insiders. The Canary channel receives updates daily (except Saturday and Sunday), the Dev channel is getting updates weekly, and the Beta channel is updated every 6 weeks. The stable channel is also on its way to users. The new Microsoft Edge browser installs updates automatically. Also, you can manually check for updates by visiting the menu Help > About Microsoft Edge. Finally, you can grab the Edge installer from the following page:

Download Microsoft Edge Preview

At the moment of this writing, the latest Microsoft Edge Chromium versions are as follows.



I have covered many Edge tricks and features in the following post:

Hands-on with the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge

Also, see the following updates.

2 thoughts on “How to Use Cloud Powered Voices in Microsoft Edge Chormium

  1. Brad

    When I do everything described above, the little blue sound wave gif plays on the left end of the read aloud control bar, but I hear nothing. It is also set on an MS voice. My sound is also turned up b/c I moved the the taskbar volume control and heard the Windows sound for when you do that. But the read aloud on My Edge Chromium puts out Nada.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You should report a bug to Microsoft.

      Reply

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