On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Google CEO Sundar Pichai took to Twitter to announce several new AI-powered accessibility updates and features. These advancements aim to make the digital world more accessible for people with disabilities. From enhanced image descriptions to improved text-to-speech experiences, here are five remarkable products and features that are empowering individuals and fostering inclusivity in the digital space.
More AI-powered accessibility updates, including a feature using a visual language model to describe images without alt text in Lookout, a better text-to-speech experience coming to Wear OS 4, and expanding Live Caption on @Android. #GAAD https://t.co/URlofXQS8b
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) May 18, 2023
Lookout’s Image Question and Answer Mode:
Lookout, a tool designed for the blind and low-vision community, has introduced a groundbreaking feature called “image question and answer.” Using advanced AI algorithms, Lookout can now describe images, even those without alt text or captions. Users can interact with the app through voice or text to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of the content within images. This innovative feature opens up new possibilities for people with visual impairments to engage with visual content.
Wheelchair-Accessible Places on Google Maps:
Google Maps has been continually working towards inclusivity, and now it’s easier than ever to find wheelchair-accessible places. By simply looking for the wheelchair icon on Maps, users can identify whether a location has a step-free entrance. This feature benefits not only wheelchair users but also parents with strollers or individuals carrying heavy luggage. With accessibility information available for over 40 million businesses worldwide, Google Maps ensures that everyone can plan their visits confidently.
Expanded Live Caption Availability:
Live Caption, powered by AI, provides real-time captions for audio content on Android devices, Chrome, and Google Meet. Google is expanding the availability of Live Caption to more Android devices and users, introducing new features such as a captions box optimized for Android tablets and a Live Caption for calls feature. These updates enable users to type responses during calls, with the response read aloud to the other caller. Additionally, Live Caption now supports multiple languages, including French, Italian, and German.
New Accessibility Updates for Wear OS 4:
Google has exciting updates in store for Wear OS, its operating system for smartwatches. Wear OS 4 will introduce a faster and more reliable text-to-speech experience, enhancing accessibility for users who rely on audio output. These improvements ensure that individuals with visual impairments can seamlessly navigate their smartwatches and access information more efficiently.
Enhanced Accessibility on Chrome Browser:
Chrome is making strides in improving accessibility across its browser platform. With the introduction of URL typo detection, Chrome suggests websites based on corrected spelling, benefitting individuals with dyslexia, language learners, and those prone to making typos. Additionally, Chrome on Android now offers a tab grid view for TalkBack users, providing improved functionality, including tab groups, bulk tab actions, and reordering options.
Post Summary :
On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Google demonstrates its commitment to inclusivity by unveiling new and enhanced products and features designed to empower individuals with disabilities. From AI-powered image descriptions to expanded accessibility on Google Maps, Live Caption, Wear OS, and Chrome, these advancements create a digital world that is accessible to all. By prioritizing accessibility, Google strives to make technology a powerful tool for everyone, regardless of their abilities.