Google used to sell a Frozen II-themed Google Home Mini that came with a few bedtime stories you could activate through a kid- and family-friendly service called “Read along.” Really, this was available for all Home speakers, but the brand partnership with Disney naturally helped the company sell more units. Still, it came in an ice blue color and featured Anna and Elsa on the packaging.
Sadly, in February last year, Disney pulled its books from the Read Along service, possibly due to a failed license renewal, and Frozen II, Peter Pan, Mulan, Moana, Toy Story 3 and so many more Audible titles were no longer able to be used to put your little ones to sleep.
We got some good news today though, in the form of a Google Keyword blog post where the company revealed that it has “Read Along” is now available in beta as a web application accessible to everyone on their Chromebooks or desktop computers.
Google says that over the past 3 years, more than 30 million children have learned to read more than 120 million stories on Read Along, and that the help and correction tools and encouragement for young readers helped them to read independently.
These same tools are now available by visiting the all-new Read Along Website. Don’t forget to turn the site into an icon on your desktop or ChromeOS device so you can access it with just one click! Also, you can always install the Google Play version of the app below using the Play Store button.
With the web version of Read Along, parents can let their children read on larger screens with a more appropriate visual layout than the app would have on tablets or tablet-like Chromebooks. Speech recognition always happens in the browser, and your child’s voice data remains private because it is not sent to any Google server. My son loved the app, and now that it’s available as a PWA, I’m definitely going to sit him in front and see what he thinks of it later this week.
Let me know in the comments if your kids enjoyed Read Along, or if you even knew it existed. Sadly Disney Stories are still not available, and to be honest I doubt they will ever return to the service, but there are still plenty of stories that can be read or read aloud even without Mouse House does contribute to the mix.