Google Launches Suite of New Accessibility Features
Google marked today's Global Accessibility Awareness Day with the launch of new accessibility features across several of its apps and services. Google Maps now indicates wheelchair accessibility for businesses and other destinations in the US, UK, Japan, and Australia. When the (opt-in) feature is enabled, search results will include a wheelchair icon for accessible locations, and full listings will show more detail, such as whether the entrance, parking, seating, and restroom are wheelchair-accessible. The updated Maps app is now available for both Android and iOS. Google also added several major features to Live Transcribe, its Android app that provides real-time, speech-to-text transcriptions of everyday conversations for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. You can now set your phone to alert you by vibrating when someone nearby says your name to get your attention. Live Transcribe can also now be customized with a personal dictionary of custom names or terms for different places and objects. Finally, an optional feature makes it easy to search all conversations from the past three days. Google has also improved its Sound Amplifier Android app to support Bluetooth headphones. Sound Amplifier clarifies the sound around you. Now you can leave your phone near the source of the sound, like a TV or a lecturer, and have your phone transmit clarified sound to your Bluetooth headset up to 30 feet away. Finally, Google announced a new Android app: Action Blocks. A simple shortcut interface, Action Blocks is designed to make multi-step tasks on your phone simpler. People with cognitive disabilities or age-related cognitive conditions can now perform tasks like "call my daughter" in one step, right from their Android home screen.
Aug 29, 2017
Google today expanded the availability of Google Maps' parking tools. To start, the existing "how difficult is it to park" feature is accessible to 25 new cities outside the U.S.
Jul 6, 2017
Google today added a tool to Google Maps that makes it easier for people to add details concerning accessibility. The Google Maps app for Android allows people to add this data via the "Your Contributions" section by tapping "uncover missing info."
Oct 27, 2017
Google today said it has updated the way it handles queries in Search and Maps when people travel. Moving forward, people will be served search results based on their actual location, not the domain they've indicated on the web (such as .com, .uk, .de, etc.) Google says people using Search in the U.S.
Sep 24, 2018
Google says it is making a "fundamental shift" in how it thinks about Google Search. The company hopes the changes will make searches more visual and, in the end, more helpful.
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