Google has been one of the few companies that have tried to make the web more accessible to people with disabilities. To say that's a daunting task is an understatement.
Yet, with its captions program for YouTube in particular, Google has shown that accessibility is something you can do at scale and, importantly, with "machines."
One of the latest accessibility initiatives at Google is smaller in scope but is no less important. A few Google developers have been working
on adding captions to Hangouts, the group video chat feature in Google+.
The first iteration of the app
is now live, though it's somewhat limited in what it can do. Captions have to be provided, meaning there's no automated method, for now, and there are two ways of doing that.
The feature supports professional captions via StreamText, but it also enables users to tackle the problem themselves by providing captions of the conversation, or at least the essentials, as it happens.