Google launches “Read Along”, a free app that helps young children read10. May 2020
Google launches “Read Along”, a free app that helps young children read
New York, 10.5.2020
At the end of last week Google launched a new app called Read Along. It is designed to help primary school children train their reading skills and stay engaged in education even during periods of school closure due to a coronavirus.
The new Android app is based on Google’s existing application Bolo, which was launched in India last year with a catalogue of read-along stories in English and Hindi. The updated and renamed version is now available worldwide and supports nine languages.
Like Bolo, Read Along uses Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology.
The app includes a reading wizard called Diya. When children read aloud, Diya recognizes if the child has difficulty with a passage and can step in with positive reinforcement or help. The child can always ask Diya to help them read a sentence or pronounce a word they don’t know.
As children progress in the app, they are presented with mini word games and receive app prizes as they improve their skills.
According to Google, the app was designed with kids’ privacy in mind. So it works even without Wi-Fi and advertising. The voice data is analyzed in real time on the device and not stored on Google’s servers. The company also emphasizes that it does not use a voice sample from the children to improve the product. Parents can connect to the Internet if they want to download additional stories. There are no costs involved.
To start with, Read Along offers around 500 stories, and the catalogue is constantly being expanded with new books.
The new Read Along app is available everywhere except the Philippines, Colombia and Denmark, and offers stories in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. The app is a free download on Google Play for children 5 years and older.