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Google launches a voice control app to help people with limited mobility navigate their phones

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Only on Android for now


Google’s launching a new Android app today that’ll help people with mobility and motor impairments control their devices. The app — Voice Access — allows users to navigate through apps, write and edit text, and talk to the Google Assistant. Users can get more specific with controls, like being able to use their voice to tap buttons or adjust controls within apps. They can also scroll or navigate app screens.

If a user wants to write or edit text, for example, they can start by saying “OK Google,” and then open their preferred app with an “open” command. The interface mostly relies on numbers assigned to areas they can interact with, so users will then select where they want to type by speaking the number Voice Access has assigned. Users can then say their message aloud and edit it as they go. They can say “delete the line” or “undo,” or say “stop listening” once they finish writing. Google lists a bunch of commands on its Support Page, including how to adjust specific phone settings and general commands.


Although Google says it focused on developing the app for people with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and spinal cord injuries, it also notes that people who have their hands full could use it, too. For now, the app only supports English, but additional languages are coming in the future, Google says.