Google has discretely launched a new accessibility feature which provides users hands-free navigation control over their smartphones. The Voice Access Beta app has been designed keeping in mind ways to enhance accessibility and productivity features.
Google's new feature is primarily aimed at helping people with disabilities by providing them enhanced accessibility and functionality. The beta app offers users the ability to toggle between screens and open up apps entirely through voice commands.
Google mentioned the feature in a blog, highlighting its accessibility features. It said: "We recently launched Voice Access Beta, an app that allows people who have difficulty manipulating a touch screen due to paralysis, tremor, temporary injury or other reasons to control their Android devices by voice."
Users can utter commands like "go home" or "open chrome" to navigate around their phones. Users can also navigate around websites by voicing specific commands like "scroll down" or "click next". The app adds a new feature which places numbers next to icons, allowing users to access an app by voicing the number instead of calling out the name. The number feature would essentially eliminate issues surrounding errors associated with mispronunciation or accent recognition, which could come in especially useful to users with speech impediments.
Although Google had opened up the app to testers, the programme now appears to be closed to any interested developers. The Voice Access site currently says that "the testing program has enough testers and isn't accepting more users".
Google is not the only one to develop increased accessibility aimed at users with disabilities. Twitter recently added an image description feature to boost accessibility for its visually impaired users. Facebook also launched an AI-driven, image recognition feature that automatically provides image descriptions to its visually impaired users.
Google is expected to launch its Voice Access app soon for Android users. However, the tech giant is yet to specify a launch date.