Noa’s new Alexa skill has human narrators read news from NYT, FT, Economist & others

TechCrunch | 1/1/2019 | Staff
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News junkies who want something more in-depth than Alexa’s Flash Briefing now have a new option for listening to the day’s news – as well as features and other reporting – right from their smart speaker. A company called Noa has just launched an Alexa skill that uses human narrators to read you the news from top publishers like The New York Times, Financial Times, The Economist, and others. With the skill, you can catch up on the stories you missed while you’re doing other things – like cooking, cleaning, commuting or exercising, for example.

The skill is aimed at those who already enjoy listening to longer-form audio, like podcasts or talk radio, on their Amazon Echo or other Alexa-powered device.

Use - Case - Apps - Pocket - Instapaper

The use case here is also similar to that of “read it later” apps like Pocket or Instapaper, both of which have added an audio playback option for listening to your saved articles. However, those apps currently rely on text-to-speech functionality, not on human narration.

Noa, meanwhile, employs a team of half a dozen narrators based across the U.S., U.K., and Ireland who read the stories published by the company’s current partners. These include The New York Times, Financial Times, Business Insider, The Economist, The Independent, Bloomberg, The Irish Times, and the Evening Standard.

List - News - Organizations - Magazine - Partners

That list will grow in 2019 to include more news organizations and magazine partners, the company says.

You can then ask Noa to read the news by published, journalist or category.

Example - Alexa - Noa

For example, you can say “Alexa, open Noa...
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