Ausum Audio Summaries
Audio summaries. Knowing that this free Google extension’s name, Ausum, stands for that gives us a hint what it can do for us. And it’s pretty good at it!
If you’re guessing that by audio, it means it will turn whatever text is on your browser screen into an audio you can play out loud, you’d be right, but that’s only part of its job.
It’s the summaries part where it gets really interesting. It uses what it calls “smart summarization technology” to give us a summary of what’s on the screen. So, instead of just converting the full text for audio playback, what it delivers is a short audio clip that attempts to pick out key parts of the text, helping us decide whether to read the whole thing or not.
Works very simply too. With an article, news item, blog post, etc., on your screen, just click on the Ausum icon on the Chrome toolbar. It then automatically processes whatever it finds on the screen. Doesn’t take long. Soon, a short audio clip appears. Just click on the Play button to hear it. That’s all there is to it.
In my tests, it works particularly well with news items and more straightforward articles. But even with content where Ausum doesn’t quite get the gist right in its selections, the audio summary often presents interesting bits that can be intriguing about the piece.
It’s a heck of a timesaver. In this day and age of information overload, Ausum saves us from the time and effort of reading or even scanning through content just to figure out if it’s even worth our further attention.
We can even change the speed at which the audio plays back. I’ve found that setting the narration’s playback to 1.25x speed works great!