Google Introduces New AI-Powered Accessibility Features
Google has introduced AI-driven accessibility updates for various apps on Global Accessibility Awareness Day. These updates encompass a visual language model in Lookout that describes images lacking alt text, an improved text-to-speech experience for Wear OS 4, and an expanded Live Caption feature on Android.
Lookout APP’ Image Q&A’ Feature
In 2019, Google introduced an AI-powered Lookout app specifically designed for individuals with visual impairments, which assists users in various tasks, such as organizing mail and groceries. Google recently introduced a new feature in Lookout called “Image Question and Answer.”
This feature, currently available to a select group of users, enables them to inquire about images, receiving detailed descriptions through voice or text input.
Google Maps’ Wheelchair-Accessible Places’ Feature
Google Maps can now indicate wheelchair-accessible entrances with a wheelchair icon. Which helps users determine if a place has step-free access before visiting. The “About” tab provides additional details on wheelchair-accessible amenities like seating, parking, and restrooms, facilitating confident trip planning.
Users can also contribute missing accessibility information to Google Maps listings, promoting inclusivity.
Google’s ‘Live Caption’ Feature
This feature provides real-time captions for audio content on your phone or PC through Google Chrome, and it plans to expand the availability of this feature to more Android devices.
Live Caption for calls will be available on Pixel smartphones (such as Pixel 4 and 5) and select Samsung Galaxy phones enabling users to type responses during calls, which are then read aloud to the other caller. Additionally, this feature will support French, Italian, and German languages.
Enhanced Accessibility in Wear OS 4
Google has announced the upcoming release of Wear OS 4, which will bring a faster and more reliable text-to-speech experience to smartwatches with two new modes for improved sound and display customization on these devices.