Lifestyle Tech

Google is taking the lead to provide better internet accessibility for people with disabilities

According to UNESCAP latest reports, there are almost 700 million people around Asia and the Pacific are having disabilities with their everyday life. With that said, people with disabilities are still finding it hard to adapt with the current internet accessibility. Google understands about it and continues to innovate with new tools to provide a better internet accessible for people with disabilities.

As 21st May marks the Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is releasing new tools that to make a difference in people’s lives around the world. This tools or features will be available on Android mobile platform. So let’s find out:

Action Blocks

Action Blocks in action

The first tool we are looking into is the Action Blocks. This app makes routine actions easier to access with one customizable button on the home screen. You can simply launch Action Blocks and choose from pre-loaded helpful activities — or type in your own to the setup — then choose an image for your button and place it on your home screen.

People with cognitive disabilities will benefit with this simple, more seamless way to complete everyday tasks on Android–from video calling loved ones to checking the weather. This app is currently solely exclusive to Android devices only.

Live Transcribe

Live Transcribe app

Google also unveiled the latest update to Live Transcribe . The app was launched in February 2019 which provides free, real-time, speech-to text captions to enable everyday conversations among people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing. 

User can expect the third major update to the app including the ability for people to set your phone to vibrate when your name is called; an option to add your own words, places and things to your Live Transcribe (even for words not commonly found in the dictionary); and a feature that lets you search within transcriptions that you choose to keep. To start using it, make sure your device is using Android 6.0 or later.

Sound Amplifier

Sound Amplifier UI

Sound Amplifier was launched to make audio on Android smartphones more clear, increasing quiet sounds while not over-boosting loud sounds, with settings that let you personalize your preferences.  

Google is also introducing the ability to use Sound Amplifier as a portable amplifier with Bluetooth headphones–meaning you can place your device close to the source of sound and increase the volume without disturbing others— and as a tool to to amplify the sound of other apps on your Pixel device, like YouTube and Spotify. If you want to use the app, make sure your device is using Android 6.0 or later.

Education accessibility is not forgotten

The current situation with the COVID-19 is making people to adapt distance learning and to some it may be difficult for them. Google is taking opportunity with Global Accessibility Awareness Day to highlight the accessibility tools available for students, teachers, parents and developers working on education technology. 

Google’s Teach from Home website includes a special Guardian’s Guide for children with disabilities who are learning at home due to COVID-19 school closures. The A11y Project website provides advice for developers of assistive technology, as well as as lists and links for tools like screen readers–while the Guardian’s Guide to Accessibility helps parents and guardians learn how to use accessibility tools such as voice typing

Google also recently shared a range of simple tips and tools that can help students with disabilities with the unique challenges of remote learning. The search engine giant is expecting to keep working with educators and families to help ensure school is accessible, rewarding and enjoyable for students of all abilities, during coronavirus and beyond.  

It is wonderful to see Google trying to implement various tools to help people living with disabilities to easily access the digital platform. What was thought to be impossible in the past, the obstacle is now slowly removed as technology advancement is constantly improving to bridge the gap so no one is left out. Hopefully, we can see more wonders from Google to expand internet accessibility in the coming years for a better accessibility for everyone.

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