Google Chrome to add background playback for Read Aloud on Android

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Google Chrome’s Android app is poised for a game-changing update: soon, you’ll be able to listen to articles like audiobooks, even when the app is closed or your phone is locked.

This new feature, dubbed “Read Aloud with Background Playback,” was recently spotted via a telltale flag within Chrome’s code. The flag’s description explicitly mentions adding support for background playback during read-aloud sessions, a clear indication that Google is actively testing the feature.

Commit requesting for Chrome for Android to add support for background playback for Read Aloud | Image credit β€” MSPowerUser

Currently, Chrome’s “Listen to this Page” option already allows you to listen to web articles aloud. But, to keep the audio going, you have to keep the Chrome app open and active. This new update will change that, letting you multitask or even lock your screen while continuing to enjoy your articles.

Chrome flag to enable “Read Aloud Background Playback” (still not available in Beta or Dev channels) | Image credit β€” MSPowerUser

Chrome’s desktop version has already offered this background playback functionality for a while, so it’s great to see that the Android app is finally catching up, bringing a more seamless and convenient listening experience to mobile users.Β This means that even when you minimize the tab with the article or switch to another application, the audio will keep playing.For those who love to consume content on the go, this is a major plus.Β This feature is also particularly useful for those with visual impairments or reading difficulties, as it can open up more ways in which one can consume information and entertainment that might have been previously inaccessible.

It’s important to note that this feature is still under development, and it’s not clear when it would be officially rolled out to the stable channel. Additionally, its functionality could change at any time before it’s officially released. However, the fact that it’s being actively tested suggests that it could be coming sooner rather than later.


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