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Old 09-04-2013, 10:02 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Google aims to sync reading and listening locations between e-books and audiobooks

Yet another patent application from Mountain View today. While the first one was related to adding sound triggers to e-books, which may not appeal to everyone, this application serves a more practical purpose: the synchronization of reading and listening locations between e-books and audiobooks.

While not granted (yet), the USPTO filing outlines an "e-book system" that would synchronize reading locations not only between e-books stored on different devices (perhaps even in different e-book formats), but also locations between audio/audio-video content and text content. For that purpose, the audio content is first transcoded into text and then compared to the original text version.

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Oftentimes, e-books are available for consumption in a variety of different modes. For example, an e-book may be available in a traditional text-based version for consumption by reading, and also available in an audio book version for consumption by listening. The audio book version may be narrated by a human actor or other voiceover professional that reads the text with added nuance such as tone or inflection that enhances the enjoyment of the listener.

A user may desire to occasionally switch among the various consumption modes for an e-book. The user may read the text version of the e-book when relaxing at home, but desire to listen to the audio version of the e-book at other times, such as when the user is driving. However, switching among the consumption modes is difficult because the different versions of the e-book are independent. There is no easy way for the user to maintain the same reading/listening position between the text and audio versions of an e-book. Thus, the user must manually locate the correct position when switching consumption modes. This extra effort is time-consuming and detracts from the user's overall enjoyment of the e-book. [...]

The above-described and other issues are addressed by a computer-implemented method, computer-readable medium, and computer system for switching between synchronized consumption modes of an e-book.
Source: USPTO
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Last edited by Alexander Turcic; 09-04-2013 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:34 PM   #2
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How is this different from whispersync for voice?
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:56 AM   #3
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Presumably this would not require the publishers to have synced page location markers in the text and audio.

It's entirely automatic using speech recognition and comparison to the text (in a lose manner, I'd suspect, as some of the accents of narrators are such that Google voice is going to make lots of errors, at least from my experience of their voice-to-text voicemail system).
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TuxGirl View Post
How is this different from whispersync for voice?
Yeah, Amazon already syncs ebooks and audiobooks.
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