Google Lookout provides an amazing service: it uses computer vision to help the lives of those who are vision impaired. Lookout uses your smartphone camera lens to interpret what it seese and gives verbal feedback to the user.
Now, with input from the blind and low vision community, Lookout is getting some upgrades.
A straightforward feature, food label scan is still in beta on Lookouts. This feature will allow a user to scan a food label or even a bar code UPC to get information about what’s in the package. Though this feature presents a challenge, with most manufacturers using fancy fonts on their product packaging, Google rises to the occasion with surprising reliability. This feature will be available in 20 countries.
The scan document tool will make it possible for an Android device to read back an entire document. Enter the Scan Document Mode and snap a picture of the document. Lookout will scan the text and read it aloud by a screen reader or magnifier.
By default, Google Lookout starts in Quick Read mode. This feature watches for text in the camera view and reads it out loud. With the newest release of Lookout, Google has given this feature some welcome speed improvements. Use it to do things like sorting through mail or read street signs.
When it comes to currency, Canadians have it good. All those colour coded bill make it easy to distinguish $5 from $10 and so on. However, if you’re visiting our southern neighbours, where all the bills are the same color, Lookout’s currency mode comes in handy. This mode will identify the denomination of the currency you have in your hand. After all, the last thing you want to do is give someone a $50 for your burger instead of a $10 and tell them to keep the change.
Still in beta, the explore mode allows you to point your camera at your surroundings to find out what’s around you. Google clearly states that this feature is a work in progress and is less reliable than other modes. We look forward to seeing how the tech giant develops this object recognition feature in the future.
Lookout is available right now in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. It is available on any Android device as long as you have more than 2GB of RAM and are running at least Android 6.