A couple of years ago, Google released an Android app that provides a hands free experience by letting people navigate through different apps on the phone using Google Assistant. Voice Access allowed users to perform various actions using just their voice, including but not limited to composing and editing texts, clicking buttons and other controls, scrolling up and down on screens and navigating through app screens. Even though Voice Access was 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 fractured arm or anyone whose hands are already preoccupied – while cooking or shopping.
Just a few days ago on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Google rolled out an updated version of the app (currently available in beta) that uses artificial intelligences to make the phone much easier to navigate. This version is also made available to a lot more phones worldwide. The original version was available to phones with Android 11 and above while the updated one is available to any Android device running version 6 and above. Several improvements have been made in the updated version including working with labels (for example, “open chrome”) and making searching for something much more natural and easier. (saying “Search for kittens” instead of “tap search” and then “type kittens”)
Voice Access can be downloaded from the Google Play store and the new version can be tried out by joining the beta program. Head over to Android Accessibility Help to get step by step instructions on how to use Voice Access.