Google rolls out new accessibility features across Lookout, Google Maps and more

Google has announced the rollout of 8 new accessibility updates across Lookout, Google Maps, and more. These updates are designed with and for people with disabilities, marking Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024.

AI-powered accessibility updates for Android

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

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

Project Gameface: Android developers can access this open-source, hands-free cursor via Github, allowing for customization of facial expressions, gesture sizes, and cursor speed. Collaboration with Incluzza has expanded its application to educational and work settings.

Expanded accessibility features in Maps

Detailed voice guidance and screen reader capabilities for Lens: Available globally in all supported languages, providing information about nearby places and navigation prompts for the blind or low-vision users.

Accessibility information for over 50 million places: Maps now displays wheelchair accessibility details, including restrooms 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 broadcast 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 enhance the onboarding process and sound event browsing, making it easier to save custom sounds for appliances.

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

Speaking about the new updates, Eve Andersson, Senior Director, Products for All, stated:

Today marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day, a day dedicated to discussing, reflecting, and understanding digital access and inclusion for over 1.3 billion people with disabilities worldwide. Here, we unveil eight new accessibility features across our products and platforms — crafted collaboratively with and for individuals with disabilities.