Google's Text-To-Speech 3.0 Update for Android has its flaws

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 6, 2014
Apps, Google Android

Are you using Android's Text-To-Speech (tts) feature when you are using your device? You can use tts on select services such as Google Translate or Google Maps, and other applications that you install on your device may also make use of it.

Google is currently rolling out a new version of Text-To-Speech that upgrades it to version 3.0. Rolling out means that it will be available eventually for all users who use compatible devices.

Android Police has uploaded the new apk file which you can use to upgrade your version of tts to the new one.

The major change is that Google has added support for additional languages, Portuguese and Spanish (United States), and for high quality voices.

These HD voices are only available for English speaking countries at the time of writing, and not for the other supported languages such as French, German or Portuguese.

google text to speech 3.0 update google tts high quality voices

The HD voices need to be downloaded first before you can select them as the default language used by the Text-To-Speech engine. The United Kingdom HD female voice pack is the largest, with its 276 Megabyte size, followed by the US HD female pack with 244 Megabyte and the UK HD male voice pack with 100 Megabyte.

Configuring Text-To-Speech

  1. Open the Settings of your Android device and select Language & input from the menu that opens up.
  2. Scroll down until you find the Speech group.
  3. Select Text-to-Speech output here.
  4. Click on the preferences icon next to Google Text-to-speech, and there on the install voice data link.
  5. The list of supported languages is displayed to you, and all you have to do now is pick one, and select one of the available language packs for download.

Here you define which language and voice you want the device to use when you use the text to speech feature of it.


Several users have reported that the new voices are too low in volume, and that there is no option to modify the volume of the voice.

I cannot confirm that, as the voices that I have tested worked just fine and with appropriate volume.

Still, it may be a bug that is only affecting select Android devices or versions, and not all of them.

The second issue was reported by Android Police. According to their tests, high-quality voice is not always used on Google Search. Depending on what you ask, results may sometimes be streamed from a Google server instead of the local system.

In addition, the selected voice was not always honored by it as well. While it did honor the selected language, it used a different voice pack instead of the selected one.

For other queries, the correct voice pack was used, but with a noticeable delay if a high-quality voice pack was set on the phone. According to Android Police, they experienced delays up to 10 seconds on a Nexus 5 before voice ran.

It also appears that Google Maps ignores the selected voice and uses the default voice instead.

Should you download it?

There is nothing wrong with download or allowing the update. Since you can keep the low quality voice, you won't notice any differences. Only when you decide to download the high quality voices, you might.

It is easy enough to trash them again if they do not work, or switch to a regular voice for the time being until the reported issues get sorted out by Google.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments ( Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [] and it appears there but as well here at []

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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