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Google Chrome Extension Makes Hangouts Accessible to the Blind

As we all know that Google+ Hangouts offers and audio and video experience, but this doesn’t mean at all that it is entirely accessible to those with visual impairments. On the side of a Hangout, there are available chatrooms where the participants tend to type a chunk of backchannel conversation as the main video conference continues.

This has clicked the mind of one developer and he decided to come up with something that would assist the people with visual impairment. He creates a Google+ Chrome extension that utilizes text to speed technology to read everything that appears in the chat box out loud.

The developer of the extension, Mohamed Mansour shared his thoughts on how Google+ Hangouts should be made more accessible to the impaired people who need a helping hand to use it properly:

Today I was in a hangout, where I met a blind war veteran. It was really inspiring to see him use such technology. But it was really hard for him to use it since it wasn’t accessible friendly. I was writing on the chat on the left, and it was really difficult for him to read the text. I am really into Accessibility, and I worked on it a lot in Chromium in the past, and I really wanted to help him.

So I told Tim, “what if the chat spoke to you?” Tim said, “That would be awesome.” When I saw the big smile on his face, I had to do it! So I created this extension for Chrome!

The extension is certainly very impressive and is available for Chrome. The video given at the end will give you a good demo of the extension.

The video shows that an audio announcement will be made whenever someone joins the Google+ Hangout is fantastic, given that someone may not be able to see the text properly would never know whether someone joins or leave.

It is also important to note here that Google+ team is very watchful in its approach to release a full API for its Google+ social tools, but this can be done with extra tools for developers. Now, considering the usefulness of the extension, Google+ team might consider making it an official part of the product.

Accessible Hangouts for Google+

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