Google has improved the accessibility of its services for people
Software

Google has improved the accessibility of its services for people with disabilities

Google has updated the Chrome browser for iOS and Android platforms and added the ability to automatically correct typos in URLs. This innovation is part of a large-scale initiative by the company to improve the accessibility of its services for various user groups. This includes people with physical disabilities, dyslexia and cognitive impairments as well as blind and visually impaired users.

    Image source: Mizter_X94 / Pixabay

Image source: Mizter_X94 / Pixabay

Errors when entering URLs are common and can sometimes lead to unexpected and undesirable consequences, such as redirecting the user to a dubious website. To prevent this, Google introduced a feature to correct typos in URLs in mobile versions of the Chrome browser. The company previously implemented this feature in the desktop browser.

In addition to helping correct typos in URLs, Google has also updated a number of services to make them more accessible to a wider range of users. Therefore, the mapping application now highlights commercial companies owned by people with disabilities.

    Users can see that LeGrand Coffee Shop is owned by a person with a disability (Image source: Google)

Users can see that LeGrand Coffee Shop is owned by a person with a disability (Image source: Google)

It also implemented the Lens in Maps feature (formerly known as Search with Live View), which became a combination of AI and augmented reality. It helps users with vision problems navigate unfamiliar places using a smartphone camera. Lens in Maps announces the names and categories of nearby places such as restaurants, ATMs or public transport stops, and also indicates how far away they are. This innovation promises to make walking in unfamiliar areas more comfortable and informative, even if reading text on the screen is difficult for the user.

Additionally, owners of Pixel 5 and newer Pixel smartphones (except Pixel Fold) can use the Magnifier app, which turns the smartphone camera into a magnifying glass. This innovation was made possible by feedback from people with visual impairments who actively use the cameras on their devices to better see the world around them.

The Magnifier app was developed in collaboration with partners Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and National Federation of the Blind (NFB). It not only helps you see small details up close, whether you’re reading small texts or sewing, but also helps you recognize traffic signs from a distance. The app also offers features to improve text readability, such as adjusting color filters, brightness and contrast.

Earlier this month, Google introduced an updated version of Guided Frame, a voice assistant for users with visual impairments that can provide audio guidance, high-contrast animations and haptic feedback to make taking selfies easier. The updated Guided Frame has learned to recognize not only people’s faces, but also other objects. This update is already available for the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro models and is expected to be available for the Pixel 6+ by the end of the year.

    Customized home screen with custom shortcuts thanks to various configuration options (Image source: Google)

Home screen customized with custom shortcuts (Image source: Google)

In addition, Google has updated the “Routines” feature built into Google Assistant, which allows you to optimize users’ daily activities and their interaction with the smart home. You can now choose a shortcut style for Routines, personalize it with your own images, and change the size on the home screen. Research has shown that such personalization can be particularly helpful for people with cognitive impairments and disabilities, which is how Google hopes to expand the usefulness of Assistant Routines to even more users.

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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