Google is amping up its accessibility efforts with a new version of Voice Access, available in beta. The most notable improvement is that it now supports Android versions dating back to 6.0. Previously, you needed Android 11 to use the app.
Flexing its machine learning muscles, the company says that the new update makes it easier than ever before to control your phone hands-free.
Previously, Voice Access would draw numbers over your phone screen so you could say commands like “tap 1,” “scroll down on 5” and so on. With the new version, you can ask for labels instead of numbers. Say “show labels” and use them to voice commands so it’s easier for you to remember and use again later.
Google has also streamlined tasks that used to require multiple commands to get done. For example, instead of saying “tap search” followed by “type kittens” in YouTube or Photos, you can just say “search for kittens.”
The company also notes that you can choose to have Voice Access always enabled or have it on temporarily. The app was designed for those who have motor disabilities “but it’s also helpful for anyone with a temporary disability, like a broken arm, or whose hands are otherwise occupied, like if they’re cooking.”
It’s great knowing Google’s designing accessibility features not only for those who rely on it on a daily basis, but for folks who might only need it temporarily.