Google this week introduced two new accessibility features for Google+ Hangouts, as part of its ongoing efforts to bring its video conferencing service to disabled users. The company's Sign Language Interpreter app allows users who are deaf or hard of hearing to include their own interpreter on a given Hangout. The interpreter's image will be displayed in the top right corner of a Hangout window, and will automatically become the focus of the conversation whenever he or she speaks for a deaf user. This allows hearing impaired users to not only have their signs translated into spoken voice, but to receive their friends' speech in sign language, as well.
Google has also released an updated set of keyboard shortcuts for users who are unable to use a mouse during a Hangout. Now, for instance, Google+ users can mute their microphones by typing the Ctrl+D command on PCs, or Command+D on a Mac. To begin a chat, they can type Ctrl+B on a PC, or Command+B for Macs. You can find the full list of shortcuts by typing ? during a hangout, or on Google's support page.
Today's announcement is just the latest addition geared toward disabled Google+ users. Google launched a similar initiative last year, when it introduced a Hangout app that provides live captions for the hearing impaired.