Ananova was a Web-oriented news service that originally featured a computer-simulated newscaster as an embodied agent named Ananova programmed to read newscasts to users 24 hours a day. Ananova became a subsidiary of mobile telecommunication operator Orange SA, after it was purchased from the Press Association (PA) in a £95m deal in 2000, after which it was merged into the Orange main news site.
The character of Ananova was given a distinctive look and personality based on celebrities Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue, and Carol Vorderman. She appeared as a white female with a thin toned body. Ananova sported short "unnaturally green" hair and was always seen in make-up. Her creators described her as a 28-year old "girl about town" who stands at 173 cm (5.7 ft) tall and loves the band Oasis and the TV show The Simpsons. Ananova's creators stated the original incarnation of the character was a prototype, and in the future they intended "to allow every individual to customize Ananova, right down to age, race and gender.” The character was launched in April 2000 from a press conference in London. A significant portion of Ananova's official website was dedicated to detailed fictions regarding the characters personality.
The animated Ananova character was unavailable from 2004, though the Ananova website was still operational and providing written news items until 2009. In April 2010 Orange decided to scrap the name Ananova. Users entering the site ananova.com are now redirected to a Web Hosting Service Directory.
The Ananova news service was well known for its collection of unusual news stories, which it featured in its Quirkies section.
The speech synthesis (text-to-speech conversion) used by Ananova was developed using patented methods that applied human inflections to extend the rVoice solution from Rhetorical Systems (now Nuance Communications).
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