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Google Voice Access app lets you navigate Android phones hands-free

It's designed for people with disabilities, but gives everyone more accessibility options.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
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Sean Keane

Google's Voice Access app is available on the Play Store.

Google/Screenshot by CNET
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Google has made its Voice Access app available globally after two years in beta.

The app lets you move around or between screens and open apps through spoken commands.

"Voice Access can be useful for people who have difficulty using a touchscreen due to paralysis, tremor, temporary injury, or other reasons," Google writes in the app's Play Store listing.

The search giant notes that 19.7 percent of the population in the US alone (62 million people) have forms of mobility impairment impacting their hand functions.

It recommends that you activate the "Ok Google" detection from any screen, get the Google Now Launcher and download a language for offline speech recognition. To activate it, open your device's settings app, go to Accessibility and tap Voice Access, and you'll be able to toggle it in on.

The feature requires Android 5.0 -- Lollipop -- or later.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

Tech companies are working to help people with disabilities access their services --  Google in August said it's working with GN Hearing to make a low-power hearing aid with streaming support that can connect with future versions of Android.

September saw eBay using the iPhone X camera to let people shop by moving their head, and in July, Microsoft announced its Xbox Adaptive Controller.

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech's role in providing new kinds of accessibility.

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