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Google acquires speech synthesis outfit Phonetic Arts, plans to use Jack Donaghy's voice for everything

Darren Murph

Don't ever knock Google for not reinvesting a little of that cheddar it's stacking in Mountain View. Barely two months after pulling the trigger on BlindType, El Goog has now sunk an undisclosed amount of money into Phonetic Arts, described as a speech synthesis company based in Cambridge, England. Naturally, Google's been toiling around the clock in an effort to better its speech technologies, and it looks as if it could be cutting out quite a few months (or years) of work with this one purchase. Phonetic Arts was known for being on the "cutting edge of speech synthesis, delivering technology that generates natural computer speech from small samples of recorded voice," and we get the impression that the team will be given clearance badges to enter Google's London-based engineering facility shortly. The company's own Mike Cohen is hoping that this will help us "move a little faster towards that Star Trek future" -- frankly, we're hoping to have Jack Donaghy's voice become the de facto standard in under a year. We hear some dudes at 30 Rock are already toying with a prototype...

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