Similar to Smart Displays and speakers, Google is adding Accessibility settings for Assistant on Android. However, the exact functionality remains unclear at the moment.

Heading into Assistant settings (via the Google app) today reveals the addition of an “Accessibility” menu just under “Hey Google” sensitivity. The description says this is to provide “Support for vision, hearing, motor, and cognitive impairments.” 

The menu, which is not very readable when the Google app’s dark theme is enabled due to a bug, presents two options. By default, “Mic-open notification” and “Mic-close notification” are enabled. “Availability” is listed as “Android 6.0+ Phones.”

In our brief testing this evening, it’s not quite clear what those options control. They could be analogous to the Smart Display option to “Play start/end sound.”

You’ll hear a sound when your device hears “Ok Google” or “Hey Google.”

You’ll hear a sound when your device is done listening to your request.

The most likely possibility is that they are not yet live as enabling/disabling makes no difference on the new Google Assistant (NGA) or the regular one on non-Pixel devices. Meanwhile, given the Assistant description, Google will presumably add more accessibility settings here in the future.

Other recent additions to the Assistant settings page include “Photos,” “Lock screen,” and “Your apps.”

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Abner Li

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