There are a lot of people who are using Android devices that have some sort of accessibility issues. While they have probably found some workarounds to still be able to use the phone and the apps, Android is now introducing some new things to make life a little bit easier through technology for people with hearing loss, deafness, and cognitive differences. Google Maps is also adding wheelchair accessibility information so people who would need ramps and other accessibility tools to be able to go to that place.
If you need to know beforehand whether the place you’re going to is wheelchair accessible, you can now turn on the “Accessible Places” feature on Google Maps. This way, you will have that information more prominently displayed when you search for places on your app. You will see a wheelchair icon to indicate that there’s an accessible entrance. You can also see if that place has accessible seating, restrooms, or parking. Once a place is confirmed to not have accessibility options, that information will be reflected there as well.
For those that have cognitive disabilities or age-related cognitive conditions, Google is bringing a new app to help them still be able to use their smartphones. Action Blocks lets you customize home screen buttons. You can create a block for an action that Google Assistant can perform like make a call, send a text, play a game, or control a device. Pick an image from your camera or photo gallery, and then place it on the home screen. This way people can have one-touch access to important things they want to do on their phone.
Google is also rolling out new features for its Live Transcribe app. You can now set your phone to vibrate when someone nearby is saying your name so you will know if someone is calling your attention even without looking. You can also add custom names or terms for words that are not found in the dictionary so it can recognize it when transcribing. It is also now easier to search past transcriptions and they are expanding support to more languages.
Sound Amplifier, a feature that helps clarify the sound around you, can also now work with Bluetooth headphones. You can place your phone close to the sound source and connect your headphones. This is available for devices Android 6 and above. For Pixel devices, it can also help boost the audio from your device itself.