Monthly Archives: February 2013

Making the cloud more accessible with Chrome and Android

If you’re a blind or low-vision user, you know that working in the cloud poses unique challenges. Our accessibility team had an opportunity to address some of those challenges at the 28th annual CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference this week. While there, we led a workshop on how we’ve been improving the accessibility of Google technologies. For all those who weren’t at the conference, we want to share just a few of those improvements and updates:

Chrome and Google Apps

  • Chrome OS now supports a high-quality text-to-speech voice (starting with U.S. English). We’ve also made spoken feedback, along with screen magnification and high-contrast mode available out-of-the-box to make Chromebook and Chromebox setup easier for users with accessibility needs.
  • Gmail now has a consistent navigation interface, backed by HTML5 ARIA, which enables blind and low-vision users to effectively navigate using a set of keyboard commands.
  • It’s now much easier to access content in your Google Drive using a keyboard—for example, you can navigate a list of files with just the arrow keys. In Docs, you can access features using the keyboard, with a new way to search menu and toolbar options. New keyboard shortcuts and verbalization improvements also make it easier to use Docs, Sheets and Slides with a screenreader.
  • The latest stable version of Chrome, released last week, includes support for the Web Speech API, which developers can use to integrate speech recognition capabilities into their apps. At CSUN, our friends from Bookshare demonstrated how they use this new functionality to deliver ReadNow—a fully integrated ebook reader for users with print disabilities.
  • Finally, we released a new Help Center Guide specifically for blind and low-vision users to ease the transition to using Google Apps.


  • We added Braille support to Android 4.1; since then, Braille support has been expanded on Google Drive for Android, making it easier to read and edit your documents. You can also use Talkback with Docs and Sheets to edit on the go.
  • With Gesture Mode in Android 4.1, you can reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output.
  • Screen magnification is now built into Android 4.2—just enable “Magnification gestures,” then triple tap to enter full screen magnification.
  • The latest release of TalkBack (available on Play soon) includes several highly-requested features like structured browsing of web content and the ability to easily suspend/resume TalkBack via an easy-to-use radial menu.

These updates to Chrome, Google Apps, and Android will help create a better overall experience for our blind and low-vision users, but there’s still room for improvement. Looking ahead, we’re focused on the use of accessibility APIs that will make it easier for third-party developers to create accessible web applications, as well as pushing the state of the art forward with technologies like speech recognition and text-to-speech. We’re looking forward to working with the rest of the industry to make computers and the web more accessible for everyone.

Source: Google Chrome

A perfect match: Blogger and Google+ Pages for Takeout

You: A Blogger or Google+ Page owner who dreams of controlling their data.
Us: A band of engineers who will stop at nothing to make your dreams come true.

Meet us at, and together we will export each of your blogs as an Atom Xml file. Or, if you’ve enjoyed exporting data from your Google+ Stream and Google+ Circles through Takeout in the past, but are looking for something more, join us now and download html files with your posts and json files containing the circles for each Google+ Page you own. If you don’t want to rush into things, we can also just export a single blog or page of your choice. Either way, give us a try. Life will never be the same.

Posted by Kári Ragnarsson, The Data Liberation Front

Source: Data Liberation

Muse: Live on YouTube for Warchild

War Child’s much anticipated event at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire featuring Muse will be streamed live and uninterrupted on YouTube from 9:30pm GMT on Monday, February 18. Watching the gig live online is now your only chance to get involved as all general admission tickets sold out in just three-minutes.

The event marks the start of War Child’s 20th Anniversary Year and comes ahead of War Child’s Special Recognition Award to be presented at the BRIT Awards, where Muse are nominated for British Group and British Live Act.

This year War Child marks two decades of work protecting the innocent victims of war. War Child UK has saved and transformed the lives of more than 800,000 children in the world’s most war-torn countries, children who would otherwise have been forgotten. From Bosnia, Chechnya and Rwanda to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo, War Child have given children the security, care, education and skills they need to build a better future for themselves. For more information on War Child go to the charity's web site -- and don't forget to tun in on Monday for what promises to be a blistering show.

Laura Quinn, YouTube Marketing Manager, recently watched “Harlem Shake (original army edition)”.

Source: YouTube UK Blog

New Google Now: More of the information you need, at just the right time.

When computers do the hard work, you can get on with the things that matter in life. Google Now helps you do just that, giving you the information you need, before you even have to ask. Like updating you with flight times, pulling up your boarding pass when you arrive at the airport, or showing you the weather at your next travel destination. Today, we’re making Google Now even more useful by integrating new partners and making all your information even easier to access.

Going to the movies? Movie cards now include the latest ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, so you can pick the right movie. Purchase your tickets through Fandango, and Google Now will remind you when you need to leave for the theater, and pull up your tickets once you arrive.

In the market for a new home? Google Now can provide you with nearby real estate listings from Zillow. Plus, when you are checking out that remodeled kitchen at the open house, Now will automatically pull up more information about the listing.

Of course, all of this information is most helpful when it’s front and center and ready when you are. The new Google Now widget brings all your important Now cards to your home or lock screen, so you don’t even have to open the app.

When Google Now first launched last summer, we promised it was just the beginning, and it would continue to get better at delivering you more of the information you need, before you even ask. This is the fourth update since launch, and we’re just getting started!

To try out these new cards, get the latest version of the Google Search app for Android, available on Google Play for devices running Android 4.1 and above.

Posted by Baris Gultekin, Product Management Director

Game on: Brand new YouTube experience on PlayStation 3 in 19 new countries

If you’re like us, you’ve probably been making the most of these long winter nights scoring ridiculous goals, fighting aliens, and all other kinds of heroic pursuits on your games consoles. While you’re there, you should have a look at the YouTube app - you’re sure to have a happy surprise. As of today, we have radically improved the YouTube experience on PlayStation 3 in 19 countries, hot on the heels of similar improvements on the other major consoles.

We have a completely new experience, designed for the big screen and console controls. Here’s what you’ll find on your PS3:

  • Search: Finding the videos you want is easier than ever, with search suggestions and instant video results while you type.
  • Channels you love: Sign in to find the latest videos from your YouTube subscriptions, which now also includes HD and official music videos.
  • Your phone as a remote: With a quick pairing process, you can control YouTube with your smartphone. Find a video on your phone and—with a click of a button—it’ll play on the big screen. While the video is playing on your TV you can control it from the phone, or keep browsing YouTube for the next one.
  • Language support: Set your language on your PS3 and use the new YouTube app in your language. The following languages are supported: English, Swedish, Italian, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian.

This release brings the new app to PlayStation 3 in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Russia and the United Kingdom.

Peter Sherman, YouTube Marketing Manager, recently watched “Level 99 Skater”.

Source: YouTube UK Blog

A Chrome Experiment made with some friends from Oz

You won’t need magical powers to take a journey down the yellow brick road; just point your favorite browser to the latest Chrome Experiment, “Find Your Way to Oz.” Developed in collaboration with Disney and UNIT9 in anticipation of the upcoming film, Oz The Great and Powerful, this experiment takes you through a dusty Kansas circus and leads to a vibrant land, following in the footsteps of the Wizard himself.

Find Your Way to OZ: A Chrome Experiment, inspired by Disney's Oz The Great and Powerful.

Find Your Way to OZ: A Chrome Experiment, inspired by Disney's Oz The Great and Powerful.

Like any good circus, there’s plenty to keep you entertained: compose your own music, play with a fun photo booth and create your own movie with a zoetrope. The path to Oz also involves confronting an ominous tornado; surviving it completes the journey, enabling fans of the movie to watch an exclusive unreleased clip from the film.

Chrome Experiments like “Find Your Way to Oz” would have been impossible a few years ago. Since that time, the web has evolved and allowed developers and designers to create immersive beautiful experiences. For “Find Your Way to Oz” the 3D environment was built entirely with new technologies such as WebGL and CSS3. It’s enhanced by rich audio effects thanks to the Web Audio API. The photo booth and zoetrope were built using the getUserMedia feature of WebRTC, which grants webpages access to your computer’s camera and microphone (with your permission).

For the best experience, you’ll need to use an up-to-date computer built to handle intense graphics. It also works best with a webcam and a modern browser that supports WebGL and WebRTC, like Chrome. For tablet or smartphone users, we have a smaller scale yet equally enjoyable experience that you can try with the latest Chrome browser on your Android device, iPhone or iPad.

If you want to learn more, or run away and join the developer circus, you can get an explanation of the technologies used on the Chromium blog or in our technical case study.

Start your journey towards the yellow brick road at