Too Busy To "Read" Your RSS Feed? "Listen" to Them via Vocalyze

I've been testing out an interesting product this morning called Vocalyze. The gist of Vocalyze is to take web content and covert it into audio and play it as new articles are published. Vocalyze is pretty simple to use, and works on the desktop, iOS and Android platform. There are a number of options to read specific featured blogs or individual blogs that have embedded the Vocalyze widget into their WordPress platform blogs. You can also connect your Twitter or ReadItLater posts into Vocalyze and have it read those posts in real time.

What I wanted to see was if Vocalyze would actually take my RSS feed and monitor it for new content and read that to me as new blog post are pushed out. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a direct way to link my Google Reader to Vocalyze… but, I did discover a two-step work-around that does practically the same thing.

For a number of months now, I've automated my RSS feed into a Twitter stream using Google Reader and an automated Twitter feed product called dlvr.it. I created a Twitter account and named it @xlambertg and used dlvr.it to connect my Google Reader account's RSS address. The initial process is pretty easy to set up:

  • Create a Public Folder in your Google Reader, and place any of the blogs you want to automatically feed in that folder. View the "Details and Statistics" in the dropdown list for that folder, and copy the Feed URL.
  • Go to dlvr.it and sign up for a free account. Then link that Feed URL to the Twitter account (I created an unmonitored Twitter account to do this so that it didn't conflict with my regular account.
There are some additional bells and whistles that dlvr.it does, but I keep it pretty simple. Although the @xlambertg twitter account is unmonitored, it still has almost 200 followers as of this morning, so others seem to like my RSS feed list, too.

Now, back to Vocalyze. 

Vocalyze allows you to enter a specific Twitter account into your playlist, so I simply entered my @xlambertg account and it pulls up the latest feeds and starts reading them out to me. Very cool!

I'm still in the initial stages of testing this out, but so far I can tell you that I like the switching between male and female voices between each new blog post. In my opinion, the male voice is a little more realistic than the female, but both are pretty decent sounding automated voices. Right now I'm listening to "Web Law Predictions for 2012" from Steven Matthews at Slaw, and the Vocalyze reading of the post is pretty easy to listen to and understand. 

Go give Vocalyze a try and let me know if you have any additional tips and tricks for how you can use this product to automate blog posts into audio content.

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Eugene Hsue said...

Hi Greg,

I am not sure whether Google Reader still permits creating a Public Folder . . . If I'm able to figure out a round-about solution, I'll let you know!


Eugene Hsue said...

Hi Greg,

Just some thoughts -

Google Reader didn't seem to permit me to create or make an exister folder 'Public,' so then I tried to 'Create a Bundle,' and to see whether GR's Bundle generated a Feed URL. No luck.

Then I clicked on an existing folder's "View Details and Statistics" for its Feed URL. I pasted this into Dlvr.it, but Dlvr.it rejected it as "not being valid."

Finally, I created a durable feed URL using Yahoo Pipes. One drawback is that Pipes seems to only permit 10 feeds when one combines them into 1 RSS feed. However, Dlvr.it accepted it, and I am happy Vocalyzing away =) .

Cheers to your useful tips! Happy Holidays,

Eugene Hsue said...

Hi Greg -

I stumbled onto a way to combine all my subscriptions into one RSS feed via Google Reader. (GR's new interface seems to have gotten rid of that option in its 'Settings').

I first 'Created a Bundle' and then emailed it to myself. After opening my email, I clicked on 'Preview.' On the far right hand side, an Atom icon was displayed.

I just copied the RSS URL from that Atom icon, and all was well!



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