Snoop Dogg can narrate your news articles

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


As you probably know by now, I am following Artifact — the low-key news product from the founders of instagram — with huge interest. 

I say low-key because I have not seen a single piece of paid marketing from them, and their updates are clean, simple, and always fun. I have signed up to be a beta tester, and a few weeks ago I got an update in TestFlight. What I found was an introduction to their synthetic voices. And, in Artifacts style, it is thoughtful, low-key, and immensely fun to play around with. 

Here is the e-mail announcement:

Below is the user flow. In most articles, but not all, a play button appears on the bottom navigation. Once that is clicked in, a small bar appears at the bottom playing the article in any settings you have preselected (such as voice and speed). In this half window, you are able to skip forward and back, as well as change individual settings.  


There are two settings that can be changed. 

First, let’s look at the voice itself. Looking at the screenshots below, once you click on the small head, you have the option to choose which voice you would like. There are five featured voices and 30 voices total.

I assume that there is some kind of deal that has been done with both Snoop Dogg and Gwyneth Paltrow to have these names. But what I also think is interesting is the range of voices and accents that Artifact presents. You’ll notice on the screenshots that there are offerings from the UK, USA, Nigeria, Australia, and South Africa.


Last but not least is the speed. 

As you can see from the screenshot, Artifact has decided to use a sliding scale rather than a standard presets. It goes much higher than usual: to 4.5X. Also note that they have named the speeds and added productivity levels — an interesting quirk.


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About Jodie Hopperton

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