Make the Internet Accessible with Google Chrome

In my view, Google Chrome is the most accessible browser for interacting with the Internet. That’s because there are so many add-ons available to facilitate access, as well as websites that have been designed to take advantage of features built into Chrome. I have written here about some of these options. In this post, I want to bring together a set of add-ons and websites that help make the Internet accessible with Chrome.

     

There are two kinds of add-ons for Chrome–extensions and apps. Both are obtained from the Chrome Web Store, but all the add-ons I’m writing about here are free. To get to the Chrome Web Store, simply open a new tab when you are in Chrome, and click on the icon pictured below. After using the search bar to find the app or extension you are looking for, you are offered extremely easy instructions for installing the add-on.

After installation, most extensions create an icon on the ‘Extensions Toolbar’, which is immediately to the right of the browser’s address bar.

You need a Google (GMail) account to install an app. Once an app is installed, you find it by opening a new tab, as pictured below.

Now let’s take a look at some extensions, apps, and websites that enhance Internet accessibility with Google Chrome.

SpeakIt!

  •   Text-to-speech for reading web content in Google Chrome
  • Select text, click icon, listen
  • Or, right-click selected text and choose SpeakIt!

Voice Search

ChromeVis

  • Vision support for browsing
  • Magnify and change color of any text selected
  • Selection viewed inside separate lens (anchored/floating)
  • Original formatting of web page is preserved
  • Click here for ChromeVis Manual

Readability

  •  Remove clutter from websites (ads and distracting graphics)
  • Set margins, select style and adjust font size
  • Can be activated by keyboard shortcut set by user

Google Dictionary

  • Double-click on words on webpage for definitions, with audio pronunciation
  • Definitions can be read aloud with Speakit
  • Click on icon for search box to find defintion of any desired word 

Speech Recognizer

  •  Voice-to-text collects phrases and/or sentences in text box
  • Text can be copied and pasted for use anywhere 
  • Google Chrome app, not extension

Read&Write for Google Docs

  • Free accessibility toolbar for Google Docs
  • Text-to-speech with dual color highlighting
  • Talking Dictionary
  • Picture dictionary
  • Capture highlights
  • Vocabulary tool
  • View video demonstration

TalkTyper

  • Speech-to-text for Google Chrome, not an extension, but a site that functions only in Chrome
  • Voice Recognition is exceptionally effective and accurate
  • Text-to-speech available for dictated text
  • Install Chrome extension Adblock Plus to remove ads that can be inappropriate at school
  • In my view this is the best available option, when used with Adblock Plus!

Online Dictation

  • Speech-to-text for Google Chrome, not an extension, but a site that functions only in Chrome
  • Text-to-speech not built in
  • View video demonstration

Please Introduce Google Chrome to ALL Learners!

How do I love thee, Google Chrome? Let me count the ways…

On the weekend, my love affair with Google Chrome was the subject of a humorous exchange on Twitter. I was surprised to discover that my friend @imalloryb was unaware of just how much I appreciate Google’s browser. So here’s a quick post that will reframe points I’ve made here before. But first and just for fun…here’s the video that prompted the Twitter comments–a wonderfully soppy commercial for Google Chrome.

Google Chrome is leaner and faster than any other browser I’m aware of, but that’s not what has me enamoured. It’s Chrome’s add-ons that have won me over, especially the add-ons that make the Internet more accessible for individuals who face all kinds of challenges and barriers. Google Chrome offers tools to support such a wide range of learning needs that I’m convinced it should be introduced to ALL learners everywhere.

The following are just a few of the helpful add-ons available in the Chrome Web Store. (I’ve linked each add-on below to a post where I’ve provided more detail.)

  • Speakit for reading web pages out loud with excellent text-to-speech
  • Voice Search for using voice-to-text to search. (Voice Search knows how to spell whatever it is you are looking for!)
  • ChromeVis for magnifying text on web pages and adjusting colour and contrast of background relative to text on a website.
  • Readability Redux for reducing clutter and adjusting font size, margins and text style on web pages.
  • Google Dictionary for quick and convenient definition of any word on a web page.
  • Speech Recognizer for versatile voice to text or voice recognition.

Finally, and this is really important

…where Google Chrome is not available, there is a portable version of Google Chrome. This can be loaded on, and run from, a flash drive, along with whatever add-ons are needed. This means the user has access to Chrome on any Windows computer anywhere. This is especially helpful at public libraries, on school computers where Google Chrome has not been loaded, at a freind’s home when I’m doing homework, etc.

So, please introduce Google Chrome to ALL learners everywhere!