Google’s accessibility efforts with Android are to be commended, and the firm has announced yet more options including improved password input and gaze detection with the Voice Access feature.

If you were unaware, Voice Access on Android lets you control your device with spoken commands. This is separate to the new Google Assistant, which offers similar hands-free contextual control of your devices. Voice Access works in English, Spanish, German, Italian, and French at present. Although built into the Android system, you still need to activate the feature within the Accessibility settings.

Voice Access left beta back in 2018, and at the time we went hands-on with the feature aimed at helping those with mobility impairments or disabilities from accessing their devices without needing to physically interact with their smartphones. Gaze detection has now arrived within Voice Access in beta and when toggled will only work when you’re looking at your phone screen.

voice access gaze detection

This might make it easier to flit between general day-to-day conversations without inadvertently activating portions of your Android phone. Gaze detection works in a similar manner to that of “Screen attention” on Pixel devices, which prevents your screen from turning off if you’re looking at it. A status bar icon with a face will indicate whether your device has detected you looking at your smartphone display.

On top of gaze detection, Voice Access is also getting enhanced password input. When controlling your device, Voice Access is now able to better distinguish between password input fields. You can just say your password with any capitalization where necessary or you can just as easily say the names of symbols and special characters. This should make it even easier to get logged in to your accounts.

As an option for those with motor or mobility impairments, gaze detection and enhanced password input will be welcome features arriving as part of Voice Access. To get started using Voice Access, you can click this link to head directly to the download page on the Google Play store, and it’s compatible with any Android device running Android 5.0 or higher.

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: damien@9to5mac.com

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