Google opens its first accessibility research centre in the UK

New base also has space for learning, with interactive zones for those who visit

Google's Accessibility Discovery Centre in London will be used for research and product development for people with disabilities. Reuters
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A new research and development centre dedicated to creating technology to help people with disabilities is the first to be opened by Google in the UK.

The Accessibility Discovery Centre in London will be used for research and product development, Google said, but also has a space for learning, with interactive zones also in place for those who visit.

The centre was built in consultation with groups including the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and disability charity Everyone Can, said the technology giant.

It is the company’s first Accessibility Discovery Centre outside the US.

“When people have equitable access to information and opportunity, everyone wins,” said Christopher Patnoe, from Google’s accessibility and disability inclusion team.

"But we know people’s needs are constantly changing, throughout their lives or even their day.

"We’ve made exciting progress on accessible technologies like Project Relate that help remove everyday barriers people face, but we know we have more to do.

“Our new Accessibility Discovery Centre creates a dedicated space to learn from and partner with the accessibility and disability communities to keep improving and building helpful products together.”

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Project Relate is a Google app that has just been launched in beta in the UK, which enables people with non-standard speech to teach their device to understand them and communicate more easily.

“This government remains committed to transforming the everyday lives of disabled people, so I welcome the opening of Google’s new Accessibility Discovery Centre," said Tom Pursglove, UK Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work.

“By bringing together disabled people and tech experts, the centre will help realise the potential of assistive technology to remove barriers and increase opportunity.”

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Updated: December 02, 2022, 12:01 AM