This afternoon Google released Android 11 Beta for Pixel 2, 3, and 4, with a very obvious upgrade to Voice Access. This is a feature in Android that allows the user to make commands – it’s part of the “OK Google” and Google Assistant family. This feature now, far more accurately than ever before, understands screen context and content, so you can ACTUALLY control your phone without touching your phone.
If you’d like to try Voice Access, you don’t necessarily need a Google Pixel device to get the latest iteration. The older version doesn’t work with the latest upgrade for Android 11, but it’s available for a wide variety of devices. Head over to the Google Play app store where Voice Access is available as a free app.
With Voice Access from Google on Android, you can issue a wide variety of commands. You can type and edit text, navigate between apps and screens, scroll up and down on webpages and documents. With your voice, you can tap and select content, magnify your screen, expand and collapse items, long-press, switch airplane mode on and off, and use a grid.
The latest edition of Voice Access still works with a grid selection option, but it’s just become far, far smarter. Where before now, you’d say “show grid”, a grid would be shown on your screen, and you’d say something like “tap 8” or “swipe up on 5,” you can now refer to basically anything you see on the screen.
With the latest version of Voice Access in Android 11 Beta, you’ll see automatically generated labels and access points for accessibility commands. That means you’ll see little tags on the screen with numbers to which you can refer for commands. It’s really cool – and has good implications for the future of touch-free Android functionality. Now, if only we could get in on Android TV!