In honour of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), Google released a slew of accessibility-focused products and updates on Thursday. This day is dedicated to bringing attention to the issue of digital accessibility, which means that people with “a disability must be able to experience web-based services, content, and other digital products with the same successful outcome as those without disabilities.” The tech giant in Mountain View, California, claimed that the new products and features were created with and for people with disabilities.
Live Captions is one of the new features and improvements that has been made available to a larger audience. Now more people can use the real-time captioning capabilities of Chrome, Android, and Google Meet with Live Captions. Users can also respond to calls by typing in their responses, which will be read aloud by Live Captions. The business is also evaluating an Android tablet “caption box” function.
The company has updated the Lookout app, released in 2019, to aid the visually impaired community by allowing users to add alt text to images using a combination of artificial intelligence and DeepMind. Whether or not the original content includes alt texts and captions, the Image Q&A feature will be able to describe images.
With the latest Lookout update, users can type in questions or use voice commands to get answers about the image. In addition to conducting limited tests with members of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), Google plans to release the feature to the general public by the end of this year.
With the newest update, Chrome on Android can now correct misspelled URLs and offer alternative suggestions. This feature, which is already accessible to Chrome desktop users, will be made available to Android users over the course of the next few months. Chrome for Android is getting an update to its Google TalkBack feature that should make it simpler for people with disabilities to switch between tabs. This new capability facilitates the management of tab lists in grid formats, enabling operations such as reordering, bulk tab actions, and tab groups.
A wheelchair accessibility update was also implemented in Google Maps, making the icon for such accessibility more visible. Google works with merchants, tour guides, and the global Maps community to improve this function. Wear OS 4, announced at Google I/O 2023, will include a new text-to-speech feature that is both faster and more reliable.