Lookout, Google’s Android app that helps visually impaired users identify their surroundings, announced some new features yesterday, including the ability to read food labels.
From Google’s corporate blog, The Keyword:
With Food Label, you can quickly identify packaged foods by pointing your phone’s camera at the label. Lookout will guide you to position the food product so that it can be properly identified through its packaging or barcode. This can be particularly helpful if you’re putting away groceries and want to make sure you’re handling the right items that might feel the same to your touch. For example, Food Label would be able to distinguish between a can of corn and a can of green beans.
According the the Center for Disease Control, “Vision disability is one of the top 10 disabilities among adults 18 years and older and one of the most prevalent disabling conditions among children.”
While there is still much more to be done to bring digital equity to those with disabilities, Lookout’s new features seem like a definite step in the right direction for the blind or those with low vision. Last year, Domino’s was sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act by a blind customer who was unable to complete an order through the pizza chain’s site. Domino’s fought the suit all the way up to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.
As we’ve written before, Google is almost a sleeping giant when it comes to food. Last year the Google Lens app launched a menu reader that showed pictures of food items as well as reviews. And Google Maps has added features over the past year to help with meal discovery and delivery.
Food Label mode for Google Lookout is now, though only in some countries.