After receiving a fair share of criticism in the past, Google has updated its Drive and Docs apps suite to make them easier to use for visually challenged people. First spotted by TNW, the update makes the suite more interactive with third-party screen readers, bolstering the text-to-speech support.A wide range of Drive and Docs features have received these improvements. The list includes Drive storage service, the Docs word processor, Sheets spreadsheet, Slides presentation app, Drawing tools and Forms creator, the company announced in a blogpost. Also Read - Jio-Google partnership: From JioPhone Next to new 5G collaboration and more
Among many features, the Docs app now recognizes descriptive texts in images, making it possible for screen reading apps to read out those descriptions. In addition, Google has also introduced several new keyboard commands for editing Sheets charts and pivot tables. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy Chromebook Go powered by Intel Jasper Lake Celeron processor revealed
Additionally, the suite now also supports Braille display. This will help users read and enter text, and also hear characters echoing. “With Braille support, your screen reader’s settings for character echoing are automatically followed. Braille also dramatically reduces the lag between when you press a key and when it’s announced by your screen reader, and improves the announcements of punctuation and whitespace,” wrote Alan Warren, Google’s vice president of engineering. The company has also issued “step by step” guides for using screen readers and Braille display with its apps. Also Read - Free COVID-19 vaccine: Today’s Google Doodle urges all to get vaccinated, wear mask
In the past, Google had been criticized for lack of support for screen readers on several of its services. In 2012, Laura Patterson, the CIO of the University of Michigan, condemned the search giant on this issue.