Using Google to hear the web

The web 2.0, with graphics, video, and dynamic applications is a great advance in terms of web usability. But, when it comes to accessibility, all these features may cause more harm than good. This is the case, for example, of users that cannot see.

One way of alleviating this problem, which has been provided by Google, is a by product of their technology for access from mobile phones. The Google transcoder is able to translate flashy web pages into their (near) equivalent text-based versions.

Using this software, it has become much easier for vision-impaired user to hear the content of web pages. It is definitely another great service that Google is providing for free for everyone. As stated by T.V. Raman in the Google blog:

It turns out that much of the visual complexity that creates stumbling blocks for mobile users also become show-stoppers when it comes to listening to a web page using screen-readers. So the transcoder has become a useful part of my web access arsenal. You can reach it at From there, search for your favorite site. Think of it as the equivalent of your browser's address bar. Once you access a website through the this interface, any links you follow from that page will be automatically transcoded.

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