In honor of July fourth, and because I write about my experiences and opinions, I thought a couple of free speech extensions would be appropriate for this post.
Chrome Speak and Speak to Search are two great tools for Chrome that can make your browsing life easier and free up your eyes and hands when needed.
They’re both free from the Chrome Web Store and install as browser extensions.
There’s a significant portion of the population that spends much of their time browsing the Internet in one way or another for one reason or ten others. Often, we’re scanning for certain information or just trying to catch up on the latest news.
This kind of thing normally requires a lot of interaction between your hands, the keyboard, the screen and your eyes. There are, however, many great tools available for Chrome that can make this experience easier and cut down on all that time, to free up your hands and eyes for other pursuits when needed.
Chrome Speak is a browser extension that will give you the option to have the computer read any Internet page to you. While there are options for this kind of thing with other programs or sources, the advantage here is having it run as a Chrome extension, which can cut down on the resources used overall, as well as ensure smooth compatibility and function. Additionally, when you’re running this kind of thing as an extension, you won’t have to worry about starting or stopping the program every time you want to use it, it will be ready in Chrome when you are. It works quite simply. Once installed, you just select the text you want read, and then right click to bring up the context menu. One of the options will be to read the selected text. Two advantages with Chrome Speak are the ability to read longer sections of text without locking up (comparative to similar apps) and the ability to read from offline pages.
Speak to Search is a nice compliment to Chrome Speak, in that it allows you to use your microphone instead of the keyboard to initiate a search on nearly any page. Essentially, it will put a little microphone icon next to any HTML field on a page you’re viewing, and allow you to click that icon and then speak into your computer’s microphone to fill the field with your search query. While this may not be an absolute necessity for all of us, for those that need it this extension is a boon. One of the unexpected results is that occasionally I will find a field that is not a search box where the microphone appears. It works to fill the field in with whatever words you speak then, as well. The extension also supports a number of major languages.
So there you go. Two great “free speech” tools, in honor of America’s Independence day! Party hard and play safe, until next time, my friends.