Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Google Improves Accessibility In Google+ Hangouts

Last week, Google improved accessibility in Google+ Hangouts, adding a Sign Language Interpreter app and Improving keyboard shortcuts.

Hangouts already has a number of features to improve accessibility to the deaf, the hard of hearing, the blind and the partially sighted, two of which were mentioned in the announcement post on the Google+ page of Anna Cavender, a member of the Hangouts team:
The Hangout Captions app, for example, enables live transcription services for the deaf and hard of hearing ( And "Take the Floor" makes it easier for sign language speakers to do a Hangout together (
The Sign Language Interpreter app lets the deaf or hard of hearing invite interpreters to speak or sign for them during Hangouts. The interpreter appears in the top right hand corner of the hangout window, or becomes the focus whenever they translate sign. The app can be installed from this link:

There are also a number of new keyboard shortcuts for Hangout users who don’t want to use their mouse:
For example: muting your microphone is now as simple as Ctrl+D (PC) or Command+D (Mac), and you can start chatting with Ctrl+B (PC) or Command+B (Mac). To view the full list of keyboard shortcuts just type '?' while in a Hangout, or visit this page:
Both the features will be rolling out worldwide gradually.

Are you excited to try out Google+ Hangouts new features?


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Google Hangouts is a feature of Google+ that allows you to have a multi-user, live video chat. That part is pretty exciting, but Google is also trying out a lot of experimental new features that really make Google Hangout compete with some pretty expensive Web conferencing tools.

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