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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

Aimed especially at helping people with cognitive disabilities, Google has announced a new accessibility tool named Action Blocks which would allow users to pre-write Google Assistant commands and place shortcuts to them on their home screen.

Action Blocks are an expansion of ‘DIVA’, the accessibility initiative announced by the tech giant back at the I/O 2019 conference.


‘DIVA’ aims to make smart speakers more usable for anyone who finds it hard to use spoken commands, by hooking them up to physical controls that are programmed to activate pre-configured actions.


FILE – The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

“Think about the last time you did something seemingly simple on your phone, like booking a rideshare. To do this, you had to unlock your phone, find the right app and type in your pickup location. The process required you to read and write, remember your selections and focus for several minutes at a time.

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“For the 630 million people in the world with some form of cognitive disability, it’s not that easy. So we’ve been experimenting with how the Assistant and Android can work together to reduce the complexity of these tasks for people with cognitive disabilities,” Ajit Narayanan, Staff Software Engineer, Accessibility, Google, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

According to the tech giant, Action Blocks is the first of its efforts to empower people with cognitive disabilities, help them gain independence, connect with loved ones and engage in the world as they are. (IANS)


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