I was looking at a Blog called Just Giblets and I noticed a widget at the top of each of their posts that said “listen now”. So I clicked on it and it read the entire post by converting the text to speech! I tried other posts and it did the same for every post. And as I was going down their posts, I found one called “Do you notice anything different?” that explained more about Odiogo.
So I went to the Odiogo website and started looking at how I could add it my own posts. As it turned out, I ran into yet another limitation of WordPress (hosted on wordpress.com). It does not allow you to use this feature since it restricts some of the things Odiogo needs to use. So I re-signed up with Odiogo for my Google Blogger blog instead. After I got the confirmation email (it takes about a day), I followed the instructions, which required me to do nothing more than click a couple of links and buttons and voila! Each of my blogger posts had a “listen now” button. I didn’t even have to add it to each post, it is automatically added for me. Here is how it looked when I clicked on the listen now button. It is in the process of reading the post.
As you can see, there are other formats you can also listen and download the post as. Odiogo also creates an audio feed stream that you can access from the blog using this button:
This takes you to this page where you can sign up for the audio feed of the posts using various feed readers, or can just listen to them from the page.
We are in the process of converting over to our own hosted site and I will transfer my WordPress blog there, which should allow me to add this to that blog (although not as easily as you can add it to a Blogger blog).
They also market it as a way to create podcasts easily by just writing your text and then converting it to audio. That is interesting but I’m not sure how much easier it is than just reading and recording it and that way you also have a human voice rather than a digital voice. But I didn’t really look into that much from their site and I’m sure they have a lot of other good uses for it. You can go here to learn more about their mainstream media, or here to learn more about adding it to blogs.
It is free to add to your blog and for some people, may generate revenue. I’m not sure what they are referring to by “ad income”, I have not really noticed any ads except for saying it is from odiogo. But in any case, it is free. This is what the site says “Not only is Odiogo free, it may be able to generate advertising revenues. Once your listenership reaches a significant level, you may qualify for a share of ad income! More technical details about the solution can be found here and in our FAQ. So what are you waiting for? Give your blog voice, and legs, now! ”
Since I could not add this to WordPress, you can see this in action at my Google Blogger Blog “Along the Path to 2.0“. On the some the earliest posts, when you click the listen now button, it says “Sorry, this article is not available yet.”, but most all of them are available now.
Here is a link to the Odiogo FAQ page. I noticed that people have been trying to find out why their feeds were being cut off before they were done. You can find the answer on this FAQ page by looking under “How do I activate RSS full text option on…” and they have one for Typepad, WordPress and Blogger.
I have friends and family with low vision and this seems like a wonderful addition to a blog to make it more accessible. And I believe that this is something that needs to be considered as Web 2.0 apps are being developed. Part of the concept of Web 2.0 is inclusiveness and being accessible and this shows how easily you can enhance your blogs to make them easier to access for everyone.
I hope this sparks your interest and helps people think about creating and looking for Web 2.0 applications that help make it accessible by everyone.
Becky Carleton, a librarian at the Johnson County Library in Kansas challenged me to name ten pieces
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