By John Glenday | Reporter

Google

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Disability Leadership article

March 28, 2022 | 2 min read

Google has made a play for some Hollywood stardust to help promote its Look to Speak app with the debut of ‘A Look Can Say A Lot’ during the 94th Academy Awards.

The cinematic spot surfaces the app’s ability to verbalize certain phrases simply by observing the desired words from a list of menu options.

Centered on the story of Antionette Fenandes, an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patient with impaired motor skills who has been unable to speak since 2020, the lavish production opens with a montage showing how a look can speak a thousand words, before showing Fernandes interacting with the app to speak to her friends and family.

KR Liu, head of brand accessibility at Google, said: “We have a responsibility and opportunity to champion the disability community during one of the biggest nights for film through our spot. This is not just about highlighting a Google product, it’s about our mission to help people access their world. We continue to be inspired by people like Antoinette and their resilience, which helps drive our work to be more inclusive, compassionate, empathetic and ultimately accessible.”

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The hands-free voice assistant, available on Android devices, builds on Google’s efforts to assist communication for people with disabilities and follows its participation in last year’s telecast to show how assistive technologies such as Live Captions and Google Meet can help people stay in touch.

Google has developed a suite of software tools to assist communications including Live Transcribe for deaf people, the facial gesture-reading Project Activate and Sound Amplifier for people with hearing loss.

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