Monday, May 11, 2020

IBM Watson Voices Will No Longer Be Available

Unfortunately IBM Watson voices will no longer be available.  We have been able to provide these voices to you for free by call IBM's cloud API via their TTS demo page.  However, this goes against their terms of service, and today we can no longer do so.

IBM Watson voices use deep-learning technology to provide high quality, life-like synthetic speech.  This requires a significant amount of processing power from their cloud infrastructure, and for this reason they charge a fee for the use of their TTS API.  This fee is too high to be practical for Read Aloud's document-reading purposes.

If you were using these voices, please switch to different voice provider.

It would be nice if we're able to use these high-quality TTS voices for general document reading purposes.  And we will be in the future, as this technology become commoditized.  But in the meantime, we'll have to make do with the older generation voices that sound robotic.

Edit: for a reliable (though not very high quality) voice that works offline, please install this extension https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/us-english-female-text-to/pkidpnnapnfgjhfhkpmjpbckkbaodldb.  After installing, the voice will appear in the voice list as "US English Female TTS (by Google)".

31 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I'd be willing to make a nominal donation to help out. I have reading "dysfunction" and this TTS Program help quite a bit. If you start a donation page please let me know.

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  3. she sould like a homless robot

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  4. Are there any extensions that do support the IBM voices?

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    1. That's a good question. I would like to know too.

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  5. Sad ... You guys at IBM together with your APP are the best.

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  6. If I create a Watson TTS account can I integrate with ReadAloud?

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    1. Yes, you can do that in version 1.31.0. However, IBM free tier includes only 10,000 characters. After that it costs a lot ($20/million chars)! This is because they're intended for commercial use, not consumer use.

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  7. This has been an amazing app to listen to articles as I am not a native speaker this helps my pronunciation while being updated.
    I hope you could continue.

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  8. I am sure there is some open source ones out there. I understand the cost and it totally makes sense not to use it.

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  9. Why? I was using it for school and this happened? Unacceptable!

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  10. The IBM Watson service allows for users to create a free plan which might help mitigate some concerns above:

    https://cloud.ibm.com/catalog/services/text-to-speech - 10,000 characters per month
    https://cloud.ibm.com/catalog/services/speech-to-text - 500 free min a month for speech to text

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  11. ReadAloud, can you guys let us link our free IBM accounts to your extension?

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    1. Yes, you can do so in version 1.31.0. But please be careful of overrunning the limited free tier.

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  12. Hey, I'm the guy that works at IBM and reported the "terms of use" issue.

    I think we can work on a solution here were each users gets its own account and inputs the apikey in the browser extension.
    The free plan will allow for 10.000 characters a month which is ~2000 words. Users can also switch their instance to be in a standard plan which would charge depending on usage.

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    1. We hope that you at IBM can add to this APP that helps us so much, thank you!

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  13. Sad, but understandable. I would be happy to pay a small subscription to keep the IBM Watson voice, if that is ever a possibility. I'm sure others would be interested in this as well?

    Thanks for having developed such a nice TTS application, it has really increased my productivity in work.

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