Google’s Lookout App now has detailed AI-powered image descriptions. The app for those people who don’t know is initially designed to help the blind as well as low-vision users to easily understand their surroundings. With this very app, people can also ask follow-up questions for more pieces of information regarding an image.
Google’s Lookout App
The Lookout app of Google, which reportedly helps people who are blind or low-vision easily and effectively identify objects and read documents, is now making use of AI to generate more detailed image descriptions.
And as part of the update, users can now upload an image and then get more precise information regarding what is depicted, even if it is that there are not any captions or alt text. (Alt text for those that don’t know describes an image and can also be read aloud by a screen reader for people who are visually impaired in question.) People additionally, can ask follow-up questions in regards to an image just by typing out the questions or making use of their voice instead. This can then help to provide more details and also give a better idea of what is being shown.
Other New Features Added In the Lookout App
Google has said that the new image Q&A feature available on the Lookout app can be used on social media photos without the presence of alt text, pictures in group chats, or even images from the camera roll of a person.
“There’s so much visual media that’s pervasive, and it’s so often inaccessible,” Scott Adams, Lookout Product Manager told CNET. “We’re trying to make this more inclusive and really give folks another tool, another option for interacting with that…visual world.”
The Image Q&A Feature Launch and Availability
The Image Q&A feature in question launches on Tuesday in the US, UK, and Canada in English only, just before launching globally in more languages eventually.
“We really wanted to make sure that we’re giving it to enough folks and we can build some real confidence around how people are using it, what they’re experiencing, what we should improve before we roll it out further,” Adams stated. “If we launch globally, we also want to make sure that people in different cultures and in different dress are happy with the way the model is handling photos made from their environment.”
The Lookout app is also adding 11 new languages, and this is inclusive of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. The app in question now supports 34 languages in total.
Other Google Apps Aimed At Improving Digital Accessibility
Lookout for those that don’t know is one of many apps and features from Google that is designed to improve digital accessibility. In recent years, the search giant and company has also unveiled Project Relate, which in case you don’t know is designed to help people with speech impairments communicate with others more easily; Live Transcribe is a feature that offers real-time speech-to-text transcriptions for people who are deaf or are hard of hearing; and Sound Notifications on the other hand, which effectively alerts people with hearing loss regarding “critical household sounds” such as appliances beeping, water running as well as dogs barking.
The company also launched a new accessibility feature for Pixel phones in the previous year to help blind and low-vision users easily take selfies.
Other Tech Companies with Similar Features and Apps in the Industry
Other tech companies in the industry have also released their fair share of accessibility updates. The People Detection feature of Apple allows blind and low-vision iPhone and iPad users to know how close someone is to them, and the company also added Live Captions to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac in a bid to help people follow along with audio and video on FaceTime, video conferencing apps as well as streaming media.
Meanwhile, fellow tech giant Amazon on the other hand just recently added a feature that allows Amazon Fire TV customers with reported hearing loss to directly stream audio to their hearing implants. The company also released a feature known as Dialogue Boost, which makes it very easy for viewers to hear dialogue above background music as well as effects in a show or movie.
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