How Google Will Make Chrome, Android, and Even Cars Accessible to the Blind

By Devon Glenn 

Google has reported back from a meeting earlier this month with 63 executives from the Vision Serve Alliance at Google’s office in San Francisco, where members of the team demonstrated how improvements to Google products like Chrome, Android, and the self-driving car could increase mobility for the 285 million people in the world who are visually impaired.

The details: “Chromevox is a screen reader that’s built into Chrome OS and the Chrome browser,” explained new business development senior manager Seval Oz in the blog post. “Android’s built-in accessibility features include text-to-speech, haptic feedback, gesture navigation, trackball and directional-pad navigation, all of which help visually impaired users navigate their mobile devices.”

The highlight, of course, was the self-driving car, which would eliminate the need for keeping one’s eyes on the road. In this amazing video that Google posted in March 2012, Santa Clara Valley Blind Center‘s Steve Mahon takes the car for a hands-free test drive, even stopping at a drive-through for some tacos.

On December 3, the company will celebrate the International Day of Disability in Google offices in North America with 7-minute “flash talks” and a chance for Googlers to test the accessibility products for bugs.

Image by ambrozinio via Shutterstock.