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Google is bringing loads of accessibility updates to its Android apps

From a Find mode in Lookout to improved wheelchair info in Maps, Google has plenty of accessibility tweaks to share.

Published onMay 16, 2024

A Pixel phone showing Android's accessibility settings screen.
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
  • Google has announced a number of improvements to its accessibility apps on Android.
  • This includes a Find mode in the Lookout app, improved wheelchair accessibility info, and more.

Android already offers a healthy number of accessibility features, but you can never have too many options in this regard. So we’re glad to see that Google is adding more tweaks to its accessibility apps.

Perhaps the most notable addition is that the Lookout app for assisted vision now has a Find mode. This mode allows users to personalize items that the phone camera can recognize, with Google using seating and the bathroom as examples. The company says it’ll also offer a capture button in the app, allowing users to take a photo via Lookout and then get a description of said snap.

Google is updating its Look to Speak app as well. The app lets people use their eyes to select pictures, emoji, and phrases, but it’s now getting a text-free mode. This new mode only lets users select pictures, symbols, and emoji.

“This new feature is based on feedback from the community to help make communicating more accessible with cognitive differences, literacy challenges and language barriers,” the company explained. 

Other apps getting improvements

The company is also bringing wheelchair accessibility information to Maps on desktop, after originally offering it on Android and iOS. Mobile app users can now also more easily filter reviews related to wheelchair accessibility.

Google is also updating its Project Relate app, which helps people with speech impairments to speak. Users currently need to train the Project Relate app on their voice by recording a series of audio prompts, but this latest update allows you to import text from other apps so you can create custom prompts for voice training.

Finally, the search giant will now let businesses on Maps and Search denote that they support the Bluetooth Auracast feature. Auracast is a one-to-many Bluetooth audio standard that lets businesses and other establishments broadcast audio to supported Auracast devices (e.g. Bluetooth earphones or hearing aids).

This isn’t the only notable accessibility tweak that could be coming to Android soon. We just discovered evidence that Live Caption could gain a variety of improvements, including the ability to show emotional tags, emojis, and more.

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