Google is continuing its commitment to accessibility by rolling out new features in Maps, Search, and Assistant. In addition, the company is launching a new Magnifier app designed to assist users in reading text in various locations.
Google is making strides in improving accessibility by introducing new features to its Maps, Search, and Assistant services. These updates aim to empower individuals with visual impairments and mobility challenges, providing them with greater independence and convenience in their everyday lives.
Enhancements in Google Maps
In an effort to make its services more accessible, Google Maps is now offering screen reader support for the “Search with Live View” feature. This update allows users with visual impairments to hold their phones out to identify nearby places such as ATMs and public transport stations.
Furthermore, Google Maps will enable users to search for wheelchair-friendly shopping routes. The company is also working on adding markers for disabled-owned businesses on both Search and Maps.
Android Auto is also receiving an update for Maps, providing information about wheelchair accessibility for places like restrooms and parking areas. Wheelchair-friendly locations will be indicated with a wheelchair icon to denote a step-free entrance.
New Accessibility Features for Assistant
Google is extending the functionality of Assistant by allowing users to create customizable blocks for Assistant Routines. Users can set images as shortcuts or modify the size of the shortcut on their device’s home screen.
Additionally, Google has introduced a new magnifier app in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and National Federation of the Blind. Designed to enhance reading capabilities, the app enables users to adjust contrast or brightness of images, zoom in to make text more readable, and freeze images to view continuously changing signs, such as flight information at airports. The magnifier app is currently available for Pixel 5 and newer devices.
Updates for the Guided Frames App
Google is also updating its Guided Frames app, which helps visually impaired users take selfies. The latest version of the app introduces audio guides, high-contrast animations, and haptic feedback to aid users in capturing the perfect shot. The update includes object recognition capabilities, allowing users to identify objects like pets, food, and text. The enhanced Guided Frames app is available for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro users, with plans to roll out to Pixel 6 and newer devices later this year.