Listen to your search results

BBC News: A Scottish firm is looking to attract web surfers with a search engine that reads out results. Called Speegle, it has the look and feel of a normal search engine, with the added feature of being able to read out the results. Scottish speech technology firm CEC Systems launched the site in November.

Try it – it’s actually quite neat. The male and female voices are definitely robotic sounding, but clear and intelligible. If you’ve tried the Narrator feature in Windows XP, you’ll know what that’s like. My quick test shows no pronunciation errors at all (and the search results themselves were good).

When you go to Speegle, the first thing you’ll probably notice is that it looks a bit familiar. Start with the logo:

The BBC report says that Google has no connection with Speegle and quotes the developer as saying that the use of bright colours is simply to make the site more visible for those with visual impairments. “It is not a rip-off,” said Speegle founder Gordon Renton. “We are doing something that Google does not do and is not planning to do and there is truth in the saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

It might not be a rip-off but I would expect there to be some confusion over the name and logo and whether it is anything to do with Google or not. Google is one of the most recognizable tech brands in the world. Speegle will be fine with that, I imagine. Will Google be, though?