Yesterday, WP Engine and Amazon Web Services launched the Amazon Polly WordPress plugin, a speech engine that can turn text content into audio feeds.
The new Amazon Polly WordPress plugin uses text-to-speech technology that enables it to create audio versions of any WordPress blog posts. The audio content can then be played from within the blog post itself or be accessed using Amazon’s podcast feature known as Pollycast.
The new WordPress plugin, which was reportedly designed by developers from both Amazon AWS and WP Engine, is the world’s leading WordPress digital experience platform. Polly was first introduced by the company in its 2016 AWS re:Invent conference. It is also said to be utilizing Amazon’s artificial intelligence services.
“Polly was designed to address many of the more challenging aspects of speech generation,” Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy, said in 2016. “For example, consider the difference in pronunciation of the word “live” in the phrases ‘I live in Seattle’ and ‘Live from New York.’ Polly knows that this pair of homographs are spelled the same but are pronounced quite differently.”
The machine learning-powered speech engine was initially equipped with 47 male and female voices and supports 24 languages.@awscloud and @wpengine just introduced the Amazon Polly WordPress plugin, allowing WordPress content publishers to convert their text content to audio feeds or podcasts.Click To Tweet
The Amazon Polly WordPress Plugin
Following its introduction in 2016, Amazon has reportedly added support for Korean and five other languages to Polly. The company also made the speech technology available in all regions in the AWS partition.
The Amazon Polly WordPress plugin’s capabilities have evolved since launch. According to Amazon, the new Polly has been equipped with support for things like timbre effect, speech marks, whispering, and dynamic range compression. These same advanced functionalities are what makes Alexa, Amazon’s AI assistant, sound more natural.
This is not the first time that Polly has been utilized to convert text to speech. However, launching a Polly WordPress plugin is expected to help publishers reach more consumers through podcasts.
With millions of voice-driven devices being shipped every year, the Amazon Polly WordPress plugin could help brands provide better voice-driven content experiences for their users.
The plugin can be used by content publishers running their own installation of WordPress on their infrastructure or those hosted in AWS. It requires a bit of configuration, which could be a real challenge to publishers with less technical knowledge. However, instructions on how to set up the speech engine have been provided in the Amazon Developer blog and the WP Engine plugin page.
The Amazon Polly WordPress plugin can also be configured to use different voices for different bylines. Developers with more advanced technical knowledge could use these different voices for features in their article such as quoted text. On top of that, Polly also has translation capabilities which will make blog posts readable to people who speak other languages.
Additionally, the Pollycast feature of the plugin will also enable users to control the iTunes parameters found in the generated RSS feed. This will include iTunes category, image, explicit content flag, and contact email.
While the Amazon Polly WordPress plugin can be installed for free, using its services is not. According to Amazon, the price will depend on the number of characters in the speech request. However, the AWS free tier offers up to five million characters per month at no extra cost. However, the offer is only applicable during the publisher’s first year of using the speech engine.