Google Docs Improves Voice Typing and Captioning for Accessibility

    Google Docs, the popular cloud-based word processor, is rolling out a big update that will make its voice typing feature much more useful for users. The feature, which has been available since 2015, allows users to type hands-free using their voice by opening the floating microphone in the “Tools” menu and inputting speech until the microphone is clicked off again. Users can also edit and format their document using their voice.

    Google Docs: New Enhancements to Voice Typing

    The upcoming update will bring several enhancements to the voice typing feature, including improved transcription quality and expanded availability to most major web browsers. The goal of these changes is to “reduce transcription errors and minimize lost audio,” according to Google. This will make it a more reliable tool, particularly when compared to some of its rivals like and Microsoft’s speech recognition tools in apps like Word.

    Google Docs: Integration with Google Slides

    Another exciting aspect of this update is that the improvements to the voice typing feature will also apply to the automatic captions in Google Slides. This will allow speakers to display their words in real-time during presentations, making it a more inclusive and accessible experience for all audience members.

    Other updates

    Google Docs is also rolling out support for non-printing characters that can help with formatting a document, such as visualization of a paragraph/hard break, line/soft break, section break, page break, column break, tab, and space.

    Google Docs: Availability

    These updates will be fully available over the next month for both free and paid Workspace tiers. Users subscribed to Rapid Release updates will start to see the changes arrive from today, but most users will see a gradual rollout over the next two weeks, starting from February 6.

    In conclusion, the update to Google Docs‘ voice typing and automatic captioning features is an exciting development that will improve the accessibility and inclusivity of the platform. With more accurate transcription and expanded availability to most major web browsers, it is poised to become a widely-used tool for users looking to transcribe meetings and presentations.

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