Conference room. Speech bubles over speaker and audience5 people of different races stand next to each other, look forward and smileNewscaster. Caption in lower part of screen: Good evening. The markets closed today'A couple watches TV. In the air floats a phrase that describes the image on TV'

On April 4th, Facebook launched their new object recognition technology that provides a description of pictures posted on their platform. They call this technology  “automatic alternative text.”

People using screen readers and iOS devices will hear a list of items contained in a photo. Instead of hearing the word “photo” when a new picture posts arrives, they will hear, for example,  “image may contain seven people, smiling, outdoors, trees.”

As in the example above, when describing a picture, the technology will mention first the number of people in the picture, if they are smiling or not, and then objects and scenes.

See an example of it works:

 For now this feature is available only in English in a few countries; but the plan is to extend it to more platforms, languages and countries.

Go and try it with your screen reader!

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A woman looks forward, smiles and talks with her hands on the sides of her mouth.

We take our sensory experiences for granted


When I was born I was diagnosed with grade III microtia and atresia on my left side and I had a shorter jawbone on that side too.  I realized just recently how hard that was for my parents.  I was their first child and when they saw their baby missing her left ear, their world crumbled.  Fortunately, that has not been a big deal for me.  When I was a child, kids sometimes were cruel; but I had opportunities for revenge. 

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