Today it’s World accessibility awareness dayand Google is sharing new features and apps for Android that should make the mobile operating system more accessible. New action blocks make complicated tasks as simple as a touch, and Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier should make conversations easier for those who need help.
Action blocks is a new app for Android that gives you one-touch widgets for your home screen. The large buttons perform complex actions like playing a video, making a call, or sending text. It can duplicate everything that Google Assistant can do.
Action blocks could be a boon for anyone with a cognitive or mobile disability. The fewer steps to remember or take, the better.
Live transcription can help with conversations, especially for the hearing impaired. The app has been out since last year, but it has some new features. You can now configure the app to vibrate your phone when it hears your name, allowing you to maintain social distance.
A new search bar allows you to quickly browse previous conversations for a particular topic. And transcribe live new languages, including Albanian, Burmese, Estonian, Macedonian, Mongolian, Punjabi and Uzbek. This brings the total list to 70 languages.
Like Live Transcribe, the Sound Amplifier app launched last year to facilitate understanding of conversations. You placed the phone near the sound source you wanted to hear (for example, a speaker) and connected a wired headset. The phone would record and amplify the speaker voice while suppressing background noise.
But bringing your phone to a speaker while using a wired headset is not always practical. Today’s update allows you to use Bluetooth headphones with a sound amplifier. And if you’re using a Pixel device, you can increase the multimedia audio being played on your phone, including YouTube videos, music, and podcasts.
Anyone who has had difficulty listening to conversations due to background noise will appreciate apps like Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier.