BlindSpeak brings text-to-speech to e-mail

BlindSpeak turns text into speech that can be sent via e-mail. The only problem is that people you're sending it to might not have the patience to sit through your message.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

Here's a concept I don't quite get. BlindSpeak, which launched on Tuesday, lets you type in a message to send to someone else as a voice message. Whatever you've written gets synthesized by Microsoft Sam's text-to-speech reader then read back as an audio message.

The synthesized messages arrive in your recipient's e-mail in-box as both an MP3 file and a link to the Flash player. Missing completely is the actual text you wrote. Assuming you're sending this to someone with visual impairments they probably have their own system for dealing with text e-mails that offers a little more simplicity than either the MP3 file or the link to the player.

The company says support for TTY/TTD services and synthesized voice mail messages is coming in future iterations, meaning you'll be able to send these messages to landline phones. Until then, consider this just an easy way to send anonymous computerized voice messages to your friends.

BlindSpeak will be great once it works with TTY/TTD and telephone systems. For now it's e-mail only, which might muddle things up for deaf folks who want the message transcribed. CNET Networks