On Monday, Google announced several new accessibility tools for Android, including a new beta voice control app.
"Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population will have a disability during their lifetime, which can make it hard for them to access and interact with technology, and limits the opportunity that technology can bring. That's why it's so important to build tools to make technology accessible to everyone," said Eve Andersson, Manager of Accessibility Engineering at Google, in a blog post announcing a variety of new accessibility features coming to Android. For developers, Google announced a new Accessibility Scanner tool and Vision Settings for the Welcome screen in the developer preview of Android N. The Accessibility Scanner makes it easy for developers to test their own apps and receive accessibility suggestions.
For users, Google announced an improved screen reader for Chromebooks, new voice commands for Google Docs, and the new Voice Access Beta app. "Every Chromebook comes with a built-in screen reader called ChromeVox," explained Andersson. "Our newest version, ChromeVox Next Beta, includes a simplified keyboard shortcut model, a new caption panel to display speech and Braille output, and a new set of navigation sounds." With Google Docs, users can now type, edit, and format documents using voice commands. The Voice Access app allows users who have difficulties operating a touch screen to control their device by voice. At the time of publication, the beta app "has enough testers and isn't accepting more users," according to its page. Google is expected to roll the app out of beta in the future.
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