Google is making Android far more accommodating for people with disabilities

Google is currently testing an Android app that will let you control some primary functions with only your voice, the company announced today. The accessibility software is called Voice Access, and it's designed to let people with disabilities take better advantage of core Android functions in a hands-free manner. It's in beta right now, and although the application period has ended, the company says it should be released as a free Play Store app at some point in the future.

The app will let you open apps, scroll with voice commands, and select items onscreen. "For example, you can say 'open Chrome' or 'go home' to navigate around the phone, or interact with the screen by saying 'click next' or 'scroll down,'" the company wrote in a blog post. It also incorporates a numeric system, so everything from apps to drop down menu options will be assigned a number you can say aloud to perform a task. The improvements here should help Android to be more accommodating to any and all users. Apple's iOS has long included similar tools for people with vision, hearing, and motor skill impairments.

Google announced a series of other accessibility improvements across its product line. Developers can now run an Accessibility Scanner on their apps to get suggestions on how to improve them, with recommendations like enlarging buttons and increasing screen contrast for those with visual impairments. The company says it's also introducing a new version of its text-to-speech navigation software for Chromebooks, as well as bringing voice-based editing to Google Docs.

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