A few years ago, Google released an Android app that offers hands-free calling that allows users to use the Google Assistant to navigate various apps on the phone. Voice access allowed users to perform various actions using just their voice, including, but not limited to, composing and editing text, clicking buttons and other controls, scrolling up and down screens, and navigating app screens. Although Voice Access is designed for people with motor disabilities like ALS, spinal cord injuries or arthritis, it can also be used by people with short-term disabilities like a broken arm or by people whose hands are already busy – while cooking or shopping.
A few days ago, Google released an updated version of the app on International Day of People with Disabilities (currently available in beta). This uses artificial intelligence to make it easier to navigate the phone. This version is also available for many more phones worldwide. The original version was available for phones with Android 11 and above, while the updated version is available for all Android devices with version 6 and above. A few improvements have been made in the updated version, including working with labels (such as “open chrome”) and finding something much more natural and simpler. (Say “Find Kitten” instead of “Tap Search” then “Type Kitten”)
Voice Access can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and the new version can be tried out by participating in the beta program. Visit Android Accessibility Help for step-by-step instructions on how to use Voice Access.
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