ChatGPT Gets New Accessibility Feature, Can Now Read Its Responses Aloud to Users

ChatGPT has received a new accessibility feature that can be helpful for visually impaired people. The artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot by OpenAI announced a Read Aloud feature on Monday that can read out its written responses. The new feature is a different functionality from the voice chat feature that was introduced in September 2023 and uses the AI model’s multimodal capabilities. Notably, an earlier report also revealed that the Android app version of the chatbot could soon get a home-screen widget.

The new feature was announced by the official account of OpenAI on X (formerly known as Twitter) via a post. It said, “ChatGPT can now read responses to you. On iOS or Android, tap and hold the message and then tap “Read Aloud”. We’ve also started rolling on web – click the “Read Aloud” button below the message.” It also attached a video to demo the feature.

Read Aloud is available for ChatGPT’s Android and iOS apps as well as its web client. The feature has been added to both ChatGPT 4.0 which powers the ChatGPT Plus version, as well as ChatGPT 3.5 which is available to access for free. The feature can read out responses in 37 different languages. However, to respond, it will automatically detect the language of the text it is generating. So, if a response was generated in English, the verbal response would also be in English.

While it appears to be similar to the voice chat feature, it is a different use case of the text-to-speech functionality. In voice chat, users can only verbally speak and listen to the responses, and cannot see the text unless the conversation has ended. In contrast, with this feature, the mode of communication remains text only, and users can pick and choose which messages to listen to. It can be used if a user is busy and cannot look at the screen to read a long response, or the visually impaired who are unable to read in a given moment.

OpenAI appears to be working on multiple new features. An earlier report claimed that the Android app of the chatbot could soon get a home-screen widget. The widget comes with shortcuts to send text messages, upload or send images, voice query, or start a voice chat.

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