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SpokenLayer Lets Lawyers Listen to (Rather than Read) the Web

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on June 25, 2012 6:02 AM

The phrase "attorneys read a lot" is something of an understatement. It's a Sisyphean task to keep up with both case information and the myriad of articles and web publications that cover different aspects of law.

A new iOS app called SpokenLayer is looking to replace reading the web with a new kind of experience: listening.

SpokenLayer's goal is make a significant portion of the web audio friendly and make those audio files available to web users. App owners can then listen to relevant articles and publications while doing other things like exercising or running errands.

If you're thinking you can't listen to hours of an awkward machine-made voice, SpokenLayer doesn't want you to. They're relying on a different model.

Unlike other apps that convert text to audio, SpokenLayer doesn't rely on synthesized voices to "read" the web out loud. They've hired voice actors to narrate popular news stories and partnered with a growing list of publishers, including The Atlantic, Associated Press, National Journal and TechCrunch.

They're also encouraging original authors to record their writing and upload it the website which should help increase the number of available articles over time.

The most obvious drawback of SpokenLayer is the limited number of articles that are currently available. While their audio model is more attractive than listening to a robot voice, it is difficult to scale quickly.

Some of the articles are computer-narrated, but the text-to-speech is fairly sophisticated. The quality of the audio is good and the number of titles available for listening is growing slowly.

SpokenLayer looks like an interesting option for attorneys who want to maximize productivity when away from their desks. It's currently free in the iTunes App Store which makes it a great price for a test drive.

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