Google, Microsoft improve tech accessibility in time for the International Day of Disabled Persons

With the International Day of Disabled Persons taking place this week, Microsoft and Google both announced new services and tools designed specifically to designed to assist disabled people.

Earlier this week, coinciding with the timing of the United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons, Microsoft and Google announced new products and services that improve the access of those with disabilities to technology.

Microsoft's Seeing AI, an app designed for people in the blind or low-vision communities, "narrates the world" around an individual. With artificial intelligence, this technology is able to describe a user's environment aloud including people, text, and objects. Until this week, this tool was only available in English; now, it's available in Dutch, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish, as well.

Meanwhile on Monday, Google announced that it now has American Sign Language specialists on its Google Disability Support team. Those with hearing impairment can contact ASL specialists through their computer or videophone. Thus far, this support is available only in ASL and English.

Both Microsoft's multi-language Seeing AI tool and Google's ASL-specialized support team are accessible now.