I sent a message to the friendly folks at the Google Catalogs last Saturday. It occured to me that as they’d already scanned and converted to text all of the catalog pages, the next logical thing to do would be to make that text available to people with screen readers (i.e. visually impaired and those who don’t read).
Today I received the following reply:
Dear Peter,Too bad for now. Perhaps as OCR improves, this will become more a possibility.
Thank you for your suggestion. Unfortunately, this type of feature is not in our near-term product plan. While the OCR quality is acceptable for search, it is not good enough for reading, which is why we prefer to show the image of the page rather than making available a text view.
Thanks for using Google’s catalog search!
The Google Catalogs Team