Google releases Action Blocks to aid people with cognitive disabilities

Live Transcribe has also received updates that help the hard of hearing.


Google’s flurry of accessibility updates goes well beyond improvements to Maps. It’s releasing its long-promised Action Blocks feature (above) as an Android app, greatly simplifying Google Assistant tasks for people with cognitive and motion disabilities. You can call a family member, turn the lights off or take a selfie with a single tap on the home screen.

Live Transcribe is also considerably more useful for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Its updated Android app can vibrate your phone when someone nearby says your name, allows custom names for places and objects, and makes it easier to search through past conversations. Seven new languages are available, too, including Albanian, Estonian and Punjabi.

Sound Amplifier is getting just two updates, but they’re important. Its updated Android release adds support for clarifying audio from Bluetooth headphones. You can use your Pixel Buds to help understand conversations, to put it another way. And if you have a Pixel phone, the second update can also boost the audio from whatever’s playing on your device, such as a podcast or a YouTube video.

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