Google+ Hangouts Improve for Sign Language
Google has made some improvements to Hangouts, specifically around sign language.
Google engineering director Chee Chew said in a Google+ post that Google has been “aggressively improving video quality and stability.”
“It’s still a huge challenge to transmit 10 video feeds to 10 end points, potentially all around the world,” says Chew. “We still have lots of improvements we want to make, but I hope you [have] see[n] a substantial improvement in video stability in the past several weeks. This will be a never-ending effort.”
“Second, as I hungout in signing hangouts, I also noticed that most people were trying to watch others sign from the thumbnail video,” says Chew. “Our voice activated video switching for the main video usually just stayed on whomever had the most background noise.”
Google added a “Take the Floor” feature, so you can have everyone mute their audio, hit “shift+s” when you want to sign something and do so when you see yourself in the main video. It only works when you’re muted though.
Last week, Google told some of its “trusted developers” that it would make available access to the Google+ APIs. While it may be a while until they are widely available, it will be interesting to see what other developers are able to do with Google+ and Hangouts in particular in terms of accessibility.