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Google opens first UK Accessibility Discovery Centre

Written by Thu 8 Dec 2022

Google has opened its first UK Accessibility Discovery Centre focusing on technology to help people with disabilities.

In partnership with leading disability organisations and charities, including The Royal National Institute of Blind People and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, the centre is expected to make a noticeable difference to the way technology is experienced by people with disabilities.

The space itself will host engineers, researchers, product teams and partners who are working on cutting-edge accessibility tools and solutions that eliminate barriers faced by people with disabilities. It may have only been days since the centre opened, but the impact of this initiative will be felt in the months and years to come.

Rachael Bleakley, Program Manager at Google, is profoundly deaf and understands first-hand the value of accessible technology: “This is our first Accessibility Discovery Centre outside the US, and builds on our years of investment and innovation in helpful technology. Yet its opening is an acknowledgement that we have much more to do to meet people’s ever-changing needs.”

Initiatives such as Project Relate are one of the actions taken by Google to improve technology for people with disabilities. The app, that is currently in beta development in the UK, has been created to enable people with non-standard voices to be better understood by voice recognition tools.

For example, people with conditions like muscular dystrophy may face challenges when trying to communicate when using conventional text-to-speech apps and Project Relate aims to significantly reduce these issues.

Google has also committed to spending £1 million towards realising economic opportunities for people with disabilities in the UK and Europe. People with disabilities have worked closely with Google on this centre, so that the search giant offers the most tailored support for the community.

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Written by Thu 8 Dec 2022

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