Google is rolling out an app that will help people with mobility and motor impairments control their phones with their voices.
Called ‘Voice Access,’ the app will let users navigate their Android device, open apps, write and edit text and more.
Voice Access assigns a number to most of the interactable items on the screen. Users can interact with those areas by speaking the number.
For example, say you wanted to send a text message. You’d start with “Okay Google” and then speak the ‘open’ command “Open Messages.”
When the Messages app opens, Voice Access assigns a number to the text field — in this example, the number four. Users would say “four” and Voice Access would select the text box so you could compose your message.
Users can speak the message aloud and edit along the way. Commands like “delete the line,” or “undo” will erase the composed message. Alternatively, you can say replace words with other words. When you finish composing the message, say “stop listening.”
To send the message, speak the number assigned to the send button.
Google has a full list of supported commands on its Support Page. There are commands for basic tasks and adjusting specific settings as well.
The search giant said it developed the app for people with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and spinal cord injuries. However, it acknowledges that other people can use it too. For example, Google says someone in the middle of cooking a meal could use Voice Access to look something up on their phone or send a message.
The app is rolling out globally, but currently only supports English. Google says it will add additional languages in the future.