Software Engineer, Mohamed Mansour, developed a new Chrome extension called Accessible Hangouts for Google+ that makes chatting in hangouts more feasible for the blind. In the following video Mansour demonstrates his technology by holdong a chat in hangout with Ken Meadows, a veteran who lost his sight while stationed in Iraq.
Every time someone talks in chat their name is pronounced and what they are talking about is put in voice. It also identifies when they exit a hangout.
Mansuour wrote in a Google+ post Wednesday night that he hacked the extension together in a few hours after meeting a blind war veteran in a Google+ Hangout: “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!
The Accessible Hangouts extension is an open source project. Mansour hopes that the extension will become part of Hangouts in the near future but it must be download for now.
Twitter users applaud Mansour’s efforts:
@gigaom: Google+ Hangouts become accessible to the blind http://t.co/rprcoKtPWe need more cool people that help folks out like this. RT
@tnawara Google+ Hangouts become accessible to the blind http://t.co/pUTOWGNrDoing one thing right. RT
Small tweaks can make big differences!
RT @jank0: Google+ Hangouts become accessible to the blind http://t.co/hZqJe9hQ (via @PRtips)