Guide uses avatar and text-to-speech technology to transpose any sort of text into a video with an anchor reading the news and an interactive interface that allows users to click around while ‘watching’ their favorite articles. Of course, with text-to-speech devices, you never know if you’re going to get accurate phrases or something more like this, but the demo seems to work without a hitch and early reviews on the app’s Itunes page have been positive.
Guide offers a lot of customization options, many of them bordering on the absurd. You have your choice of talking head, and the choices range from dog to alien to human to robot. I hope that a future update will allow users to import their own avatars and voices, because I only listen to the news if someone with Zooey Deschanel‘s face is reading it to me in Dennis Haysbert‘s voice.
Jokes aside, Guide comes along at a good time. If NDN’s rise up the Comscore rankings is any indication, many people are currently getting their news from online video. Now, the option has been extended to almost anything you can read on the Internet. Guide combines the portability of Pocket, the visual nature of news media, and the uncanny valley weirdness of Siri. Plus, it’s free. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m intrigued. Check it out here.