Google has announced the release of 8 new accessibility updates to Lookout, Google Maps and more. These updates are designed with and for people with disabilities, in honor of World Accessibility Awareness Day 2024.

AI accessibility updates for Android

Lookout: Now features a beta version of Find Mode, which helps people with blindness and low vision locate specific objects.

Lookout also offers AI-generated image descriptions and supports text-free communication in Look to Speak.

Project Gameface: Android developers can access this open-source hands-free cursor via Github, which allows for customization of facial expressions, gesture size, and cursor speed. The collaboration with Incluzza has extended its application to educational and work areas.

Expanded accessibility features in Maps

Detailed voice guidance and screen reader capabilities for Lens: Available globally in all supported languages, providing information about nearby locations and navigation directions for users who are blind or have low vision.

Accessibility information for more than 50 million places: Maps now shows details of wheelchair accessibility, including bathrooms and parking. The desktop version now includes the wheelchair accessible icon and the ability to filter reviews for accessibility information.

Auracast Attribute: Business owners can now add this attribute to their profiles, allowing venues to stream enhanced audio for visitors with hearing devices.

New designs for Project Relate and Sound Notifications

Project Relate: Users can now import phrases from other apps as Custom Cards, improving personalized speech recognition.

Sound Notifications: Redesigned based on user feedback to improve the onboarding process and sound event navigation, making it easier to save custom sounds for devices.

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Google emphasizes its commitment to ongoing partnerships with the disability community to improve accessibility features based on user feedback.

Speaking about the new updates, Eve Andersson, Senior Director of Products for Everyone, he declared:

Today is World Accessibility Awareness Day, a day dedicated to debating, reflecting and understanding digital access and inclusion for more than 1.3 billion people with disabilities around the world. Here, we introduce eight new accessibility features in our products and platforms, built in collaboration with and for people with disabilities.

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