Google Announces New Accessibility Features for Android Devices: All Details

The Live Caption feature will be coming to more Android devices.

Google Announces New Accessibility Features for Android Devices: All Details

Photo Credit: Google

Google said that these accessibility features are built by and for people with disabilities

Highlights
  • Google Maps has an updated Accessible Places feature
  • The Lookout app is getting a new Image Q&A mode
  • TalkBack on Chrome on Android also recieved an update
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Google unveiled a series of accessibility products and feature updates on Thursday to commemorate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The day involves raising awareness about digital accessibility, which means that individuals 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 Mountain View, California-based tech giant said that the products and features introduced were built by and for people with disabilities.

Among the new features and updates introduced, is Live Captions being made accessible widely. More users can now use Live Captions on Chrome, Android, and Google Meet applications to generate real-time captions. Live Captions for calls will also enable users to type their responses on call, that will then be read aloud to the other caller. The company is also testing a “caption box” feature for Android tablets. 

The company has combined AI and DeepMind to update the Lookout app that was launched in 2019 to help the visually impaired community by allowing users to add alt text to images. The Image Q&A feature will be capable of describing images whether the original content contains alt texts and captions or not.

With the Lookout update, users can also ask for additional information about the image by either typing or using voice commands. Google is also testing the feature with a limited number of people from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and is planning to roll it out widely by the end of the year.

Chrome for Android can now detect typos in URLs and make relevant suggestions with the latest update. Already available for Chrome desktop users, this feature will gradually roll out to Android users over the next few months. With a new update to the Google TalkBack feature, Chrome for Android will aim to make managing tabs easier for people with disabilities. The feature can now help in organising tab lists in grid formats, and also allow functions like reordering, bulk tab actions, and tab groups.

Google Maps also received a Wheelchair-accessibility update, which makes the wheelchair accessibility icon more prominent by default. To further enhance this feature, Google is collaborating with business owners, local guides, and the Maps community all over the world. The new updates also include a faster and more reliable text-to-speech feature that will be a part of Wear OS 4, which was announced at the Google I/O 2023 event. 


Google I/O 2023 saw the search giant repeatedly tell us that it cares about AI, alongside the launch of its first foldable phone and Pixel-branded tablet. This year, the company is going to supercharge its apps, services, and Android operating system with AI technology. We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Sucharita Ganguly
Sucharita is a writer with Gadgets 360 and is mostly found playing with her cat in her free time. She has previously worked at breaking news desks across organizations. Powered by coffee, The Beatles, Bowie, and her newfound love for BTS, she aims to work towards contributing to a better media environment for women and queer folk. More
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