Google’s Read Along App and AI Assistant Launches Web Version
Google has introduced a web version of its popular Read Along educational app for teaching children to read. The website includes Read Along the virtual assistant Diya, a voice-enabled AI guiding and correcting kids as they practice reading.
Read Along Diya
The Read Along website operates much like the Android app. Children can pick from different stories and word games. Diya monitors the child, using Google’s speech recognition technology to spot mistakes and places where they are having trouble. The voice assistant can correct their errors as they read, as well as congratulate them on successes. The student can also ask Diya for help with pronunciation. Parents with multiple kids can create individual profiles to track each child so that they can track individual progress. Read Along evolved from Google’s Bolo, “speak” in Hindi, and has stories in multiple languages. Since that initial launch, Google claims more than 30 million kids have read more than 120 million stories on Read Along. The website also marks the debut of some new stories, including adaptations from videos made by YouTube content creators, ChuChu TV and USP Studios.
“Just like the Android app, all the speech recognition happens in the browser so children’s voice data remains private and we do not send it to any servers. The website also opens up new opportunities for teachers and education leaders around the world, who can use Read Along as a reading practice tool for students in schools,” Google explained in announcing the website. “Reading is a critical skill to develop at a young age, and with Read Along Web, we are taking another step towards ensuring each kid has that option.”
Applying speech recognition and AI to education is rapidly becoming a mainstream option. For instance, kid-focused speech recognition startup SoapBox Labs has exploded in popularity among educators, most recently integrating with Imagine Learning and embedding its tech into the Lexile Framework of oral reading tests developed by MetaMetrics. Bamboo Learning expanded its educational app to iOS and Amazon introduced Alexa voice profiles for kids with the Reading Sidekick AI tutor in 2021. Read Along isn’t even Google’s only venture in the space as it folded the reading tutor app Rivet into Google Assistant back in 2020.