While Google Assistant can be pretty helpful, there are also people who may find it limiting and difficult to use because of certain disabilities that they may have. Google is a company that is intentional about making some of their products accessible to everyone and so they are now making some improvements into how its digital assistant can make life better for those that may be dealing with physical and cognitive limitations but would still like to use technology and gadgets to do everyday tasks and things.
Google Assistant actually has some pretty great accessibility features but there’s always room for improvement, especially upon consultation with their accessibility partners. They have now partnered with high-tech company Tobii and is now integrated with the Snap Core First system on their Dynavox tablets and mobile apps. This way, you can perform a command for Google Assistant through eye-tracking, scanning, and touch, for those that cannot use voice commands.
You will be able to ask about the weather today or turn off the lights in the living room by looking at or touching a tile. Setting it up is also pretty easy as you can configure an Assistant-based smart speaker or device in the Google Home app and then grant the Snap Core First accessibility app permission. You can then use the tiles to issue commands and tasks to the Google Assistant. The Tobii Dynavox can also use its Picture Communication symbols to create Action Block buttons on Android devices.
Action Blocks was an app launched earlier this year and were designed for people with cognitive disabilities so they can create home screen buttons to help them navigate a device. The latest update to the app makes it more accessible for non-verbal people who use augmentative and alternative (AAC) to communicate. There is a quick setup process to create Action Blocks that speak common phrases like “yes”, “no” or “excuse me”.
Google has also launched a dedicated Careers resource page that has been tailored for those job seekers that may have disabilities. There are resources and tips for applying as well as stories on Google employees with disabilities and what the company is doing to create and improve products for those with disabilities.