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Accessible Search is an early Google Labs product designed to identify and prioritize search results that are more easily usable by blind and visually impaired users. Regular Google search helps you find a set of documents that is most relevant to your tasks. Accessible Search goes one step further by helping you find the most accessible pages in that result set.
Google tests more accessible Web search for blind [today.reuters.com]
Accessible Search rates how, on balance, each Web page handles such issues and gives priority to pages that do the best job of balancing relevant data and solid design.
When comparing results with the standard Google results, it does appear that image-heavy sites and sites with, for example, video content are heavily downgraded in favor of simpler text-rich sites.
This tells me one of two things: Either Raman did a very bad job of modeling what's accessible or not, or the web is more messed up than I ever realized.
how are they profiting from this?
They never seem to dedicate a lot of time to anything until it starts rolling in the money.
Google have so many Beta products out there, when are they going to finish something?
Based on that small sample I think that sites are being downgraded if they don't have ALT tags, TITLE tags, or ACCESS KEYS. Fonts on both this site and the other are scalable.
How do you decide which sites are "accessible" and which are not?
[...]Currently we take into account several factors, including a given page's simplicity, how much visual imagery it carries and whether or not it's primary purpose is immediately viable with keyboard navigation.
what I can make out of this:
Anything else I missed?
Raman said: "We don't test against WCAG. We think in the spirit of those guidelines, but we don't test against them verbatim." Instead he endeavoured to identify "what works for the end-user," describing a process of "experimentation, training and machine learning. (...) We look for a set of signals, do some numbers, see what comes out..."
Just noticed also that the search doesnt have the spellcheck function of the normal google.
That's a pity. They could have a lot of influence in this area, which would benefit everyone.
As (one of) the company that has the most impact in todays' internet, I thinks it should become they 'social responsability' to help improve the 'web accessibility' as well as continuing to improve their algo.
I don't mean that this should become their priority (no change in business model etc) BUT with the tools at their disposal, they should actively 'promote' web accessibiliy.