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Use the Google Assistant action blocks for accessibility



  Google Assistant action block app icon
Google

Google Assistant makes completing digital tasks easier, but may be inaccessible to those without handy fingers or a steady voice. The Action Blocks app for Android allows you to turn complex commands into a single digital touch of a button.

What are Action Blocks?

Action Blocks is an Android app from Google that allows you to reduce complex smartphone tasks from dozens of different actions to a single tap. Millions of people around the world face a myriad of obstacles that prevent them from using the Google Assistant to play YouTube videos or control smart home devices.

In honor of the 2020 Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Google released Action Blocks to help further connect people with mild and severe disabilities.

RELATED: Android & # 39; s Latest Features Focus on Accessibility for All

Google Engineer Lorenzo Caggioni first created the predecessor of Action Blocks for his brother, who was unable to use most technology due to its handicap. Project DIVA, short for DIVersely Assisted, uses a Raspberry Pi and Google Assistant to give more independence to people who are unable to perform specific tasks on a smartphone.

Developers can use Project DIVA to assign tasks to a physical button that then performs multiple complex digital tasks with the touch of a button.

  diva button
Google

Action Blocks uses digital buttons instead of DIVA's physical buttons and provides a user-friendly interface that allows you to organize complex processes in a single press. Like the Google Assistant routines, these action blocks can perform all the tasks that your virtual assistant can perform.

Set action blocks

Download the app from the Google Play Store to your Android device to get started with action blocks. Make sure you've turned on the Google Assistant on your phone.

Once the action blocks are installed, launch the app and tap the "How it works" link for more information on what it can do. Start creating your own digital buttons by selecting "Create Action Block".

 Android Action Blocks Setup Screen

In the "Create Action Block" menu, you can choose from a variety of daily actions, such as calling or playing media. Tap & # 39; More Actions & # 39; to access additional features such as smart home control, reminders, calendars and more.

Select one of these actions to open a template action block or choose "Create Custom Action" to use a blank action block

 Android Action Blocks Create Action Block Create Screen

If you choose a template for a specific action, you will see that the Google Assistant command for that action has already been written. Edit the assignment as you see fit. If you don't want the Google Assistant to announce the action aloud each time this action block is used, make sure that the option 'Always say action aloud' is turned off.

Use the & # 39; Test Action & # 39; to make sure this command does what you want it to do. Tap "Next" at the bottom of the screen when you have finished editing and testing this command.

 Android action blocks What should this action block do

Next, you want to create a new one unique name for this action block. From there, select an image to identify the button from your photo library or Google's library of symbols and icons, or take a new photo with your camera. When you're ready to proceed, tap "Save Action Block" at the bottom of the screen.

 Android action blocks What should this action block look like

Once your action block is saved, you can automatically place it on your home screen or make more action blocks and place them later.

To place an action block, tap it on the main action block screen and select "Place on Home Screen".

 Android action blocks on the home screen

Action buttons have a standard size of 2 × 2 on the screen of your Android smartphone. Press and hold your Action Block widget until four dots mark the outline of the block to move or resize it.

 Android Action Blocks Resize on Home Screen


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