Chrome to Soon Convert PDFs into Read-Aloud Text
Google is facilitating people with low vision to interact with PDFs. They are adding a technology called OCR (optical character recognition) to Chrome, which can convert PDFs into text that screen readers can read aloud.
The tool will also provide descriptions for images in the PDFs. This new feature will be available in the coming months. Google plans to extend this functionality to other platforms later this year, although they have yet to specify which ones.
This addition is part of Google’s broader efforts in the education sector. They offer app licenses for school Chromebooks and free access to Adobe Express in the United States.
Administrators will also have more control over what students and faculty can do on their Chromebooks, such as restricting them from copying paste work from specific websites to prevent cheating with generative AI tools.
Users will find it easier to turn off their camera or microphone, regardless of their location within Chrome OS.
The read-aloud PDF feature is primarily aimed at classrooms where students with vision impairments will benefit from being able to read scanned class materials or research articles.
Many websites have essential information in pdf format, like terms of service. Therefore, this upgrade will also make that information more accessible to a larger audience.