Edge’s new cloud-powered Read Aloud voices sound almost human

Vlad Turiceanu
by Vlad Turiceanu
Editor-in-Chief
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With the latest Dev and Canary channel releases, Microsoft now includes 24 cloud-powered text to speech voices.

You will start experiencing the new AI voices in Read Aloud, the current feature in Microsoft Edge that allows websites to be read to you by the browser.

The new voices sound more human-like

These new voices should be a massive improvement over the robotic-sounding current ones. Because they are powered by Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, they should sound a lot more human.

Here’s how Microsoft describes the new experience in their blog:

A common theme that we heard from Read Aloud feedback in the current version of Microsoft Edge was that the default speaking voices sounded robotic and unnatural. People also told us how time consuming it was to install different language packs so that they could read text in other languages. We have made this experience better with the arrival of cloud powered speaking voices in the preview builds of Microsoft Edge.

new read aloud cloud-powered voices for microsoft edge

Where do I find the new cloud-powered text to speech voices in Edge?

The new voices come in two different styles and you can differentiate them from other voices that are installed on your PC by looking at their names. New voices 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.  

You can try them out by using the Read Aloud feature. To do so, navigate to a website, select some text, right-click it, and select “Read aloud selection”.

After that, the Read Aloud menu bar will show up and you’ll be able to pick different voices and adjust the reading speed.

What do you think about the new 24 cloud-powered text to speech voices for Edge?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.