Here's a cool new feature from LinkedIn that, with some tweaks and fine-tuning, could be and great resource for people on the go.
Yesterday LinkedIn launched SpeechIn— a text-to-speech feature that reads the top headlines from LinkedIn Today, its news aggregation site. Currently, SpeechIn is available on the iPhone and desktop versions of Safari and Chrome, but it's likely the iPhone app that you'll find most useful.
To access SpeechIn, visit speechin.linkedinlabs.com from your mobile browser, Chrome or Safari. Just enter your e-mail address and LinkedIn password and you'll be diverted to the SpeechIn page.
Now that you're logged in, all you have to do is tap the flame button to begin the text-to-speech reading. The application will speak the headlines in a female (and rather monotone) voice. Tap the forward or backward buttons to skip to the next headline or repeat the last one. Otherwise, the app will continue reading headlines. Tap the flame to pause the reading.
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For example, because LinkedIn Today aggregates all types of online content and not just news stories, the headlines are not always specific enough to get the gist of an article. It would also be useful to choose which categories the app reads headlines from, rather than just front-page news—i.e.computer software, Internet or technology categories.
Similarly, it would make sense to extend the text-to-speech feature to the first few paragraphs with capabilities to read full articles, rather than just headlines. Likely that's where most users would see the benefits of this feature.
What do you think about SpeechIn? Is it a feature you might use?
Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org