Google Showcases an Outstanding App at Academy Awards

Samanta Blumberg


Google Showcases an Outstanding App at Academy Awards

Yesterday night during the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony, Google ran an ad for its app that surely didn’t leave the audience unmoved. Initially launched two years ago, Look to Speak lifts communication barriers for people with disabilities. It relies on eye movement to enable people incapable of speaking the regular way to communicate by selecting words and phrases from their phone that are then read aloud using voice-to-speech. The application mainly targets people with paralysis or other conditions that impair movement and speech.

The video that Google used to present its app to the wider public starts with a compilation of close-up shots of human eyes. A look can say a lot, explains the voiceover. The emotions you can see in the eyes of those staring in the video range from affection to anger and frustration with so much in between. You’ll see womens’ eyes and those of men as well as kids looking right at you through the camera, each expressing a distinct set of feelings. The video shows how our eyes enable us to respond to what’s happening to and around us. Talking to someone we love, having an argument, enjoying some quality time, it all shows in our glance.

It’s the final part of the video, however, that’s the most stunning. As the camera zooms out, we see the face of a woman looking at the screen of a phone with Look to Speak Running. She uses the direction of her glance to pick the exact phrase she wants and greet someone who's come to visit her, “It’s great to see you!”. The phone reads it aloud. Both smile. This is the moment you realize the potential of this app by Google — helping people connect.

Have you seen the Look to Speak app? Do you know someone who might benefit from it? Share your impressions, experience, or expectations.