Android already lets you do a lot of things with your voice, like launching a Google search and dictating text, but now Google is launching a feature that’ll let you do way more.
Voice Access Beta will let you control your Android phone using just your voice. You can launch apps (“open Chrome”), leave an app and go to your home screen (“go home”), interact with content on your display (“click next” or “scroll down”), and use text editing and dictation (“type hello” and “replace coffee with tea”).
The Voice Access Beta will also put numbers next to the buttons on your screen that you can interact with. So in the screenshots above, you could say “tap 3” to access your Recent Apps button or “tap 20” to open your app drawer. When you give your device a command, it’ll take over the status bar and show you what it hears and then the action that it took.
To try Voice Access Beta, you’ll need to agree to become a beta tester and then download the app from Google Play. Once you've got it running on your Android device — which must be running 5.0 Lollipop or higher — you should enable “Ok Google” from any screen on your device. You can then say “Ok Google, start Voice Access.” Google also offers a “What can I say?” command within Voice Access Beta that’ll teach you how to use the feature. If you’d like to turn off the Voice Access Beta, you just say “Stop Voice Access.”
With Voice Access Beta, Google wants to help users who have difficulties when using a touchscreen, like anyone with paralysis or tremors. It looks like a neat feature, and it’s great to see Google using its skills with voice control to help folks with injuries or disabilities to use an Android device to its full extent.
Google also announced today that it’s making Android more accessible to those with visual impairments by adding Vision Settings to Android N. With Vision Settings, users will be able to control magnification with a gesture, increase or decrease font size and display size, and control TalkBack.