Speed reading is all the rage nowadays, and although we’re not really sure just how effective it is to consume the printed word at ridiculously rapid speeds, we can see the attraction for people who have too much to do and too little time. Now there’s a rather remarkable free product which can help you consume text on a web page at high speed, and it actually seems to work well.
OpenSpritz is a free browser bookmarklet which you add to your bookmarks bar, and which gives you an instant speed reading function on just about every web site. The product is based on the recently released platform called Spritz, which us designed for developers to add to their products for mobile phones and computers.
To use the tool, just install it on your browser toolbar, and when you need to read fast, click the button and a window pops up at the top of the web page in your browser. Select the speed you want (we found 600 words per minute to be quite fast enough thank you, but we’re guessing there are people already rocking 950 wpm levels), and you’re off to the races.
The software will then ‘read’ the text on the page to you at your chosen speed, and because it includes a red anchor point in the word stream, your eye can stay steady and consume the flashing words at a very fast rate, while retaining comprehension. We found in our tests with Firefox that you’ll have long periods of total understanding, interspersed with a few seconds of gaps or meaningless words, as something breaks on the page or in your brain. Brain, not Brian.
But overall it looks like a really interesting product, and especially so since the author has released it to the open source community. Apparently there’s also an open source port of the product now available for Android phones, which reads ePub documents, although at the moment it’s very much in crude form, rather than an installable Google Play app.