The purchase will help Google with text to speech quality.
There aren’t many details in Google’s GOOGblog post on the matter but they picked up a small UK-based specch synthesis company called Phonetic Arts today:
But what about when the computer speaks to you—in other words, voice output? There are already places you can hear this in action today—for example, Google Translate “speaks” translated text in multiple languages, and you can listen to navigation instructions as you drive—but there’s still a lot to do. That’s why we’re pleased to announce we’ve acquiredPhonetic Arts, a speech synthesis company based in Cambridge, England. Phonetic Arts’ team of researchers and engineers work at the cutting edge of speech synthesis, delivering technology that generates natural computer speech from small samples of recorded voice.
So what’s Google going to do with this technology? Here is an Onion video that gets less satirical every day: