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Google Talkback is an accessibility service for the Android operating system that helps blind and visually impaired users to interact with their devices. It uses spoken words, vibration and other audible feedback to allow the user to know what is happening on the screen allowing the user to better interact with their device. The service is pre-installed on many Android devices, and it became part of the Android Accessibility Suite in 2017.[1][2] According to the Google Play Store, the Android Accessibility Suite has been downloaded over five billion times, including devices that have the suite preinstalled.[3]

Open-source

Google releases the source code of Google TalkBack with some releases of the accessibility service to GitHub, with the latest of these changes being from May 6th, 2021.[4] The source for these versions of Google TalkBack have been released under the Apache License version 2.0.[5]

Release History

Version Release Date Summary
9.1 February 2021[6] New multi-finger gestures in a new context menu which can be used for activities such as reading, voice commands, support for Spanish and Arabic in the Braille keyboard, as well as a reorganization to the settings menu of TalkBack.[7]
8.2 April 2020 Introduced a new Braille keyboard which uses six large buttons in screen in order to allow visually impaired users to type in a manner that may be more familiar to them.[8]
7.3 March 2019 Added a screen search function to find text on screen in a more accessible manner and made changes to the continuous reading functionality of TalkBack by auto-scrolling pages and adding new navigation options.[9]
7.2 November 2018 Improved controls and added fast forward and rewind functionality to the screen reader.[10]
6.2 June 2018 Improved Android TV controls and Focus Management. This release came with the rebranding of TalkBack from an independent application into a part of the new Android Accessibility Suite, which includes TalkBack and a few other accessibility tools.[11]
6.1 Early 2018 Added the ability for the active text to speech language to be changed through gestures, as well as fixing a variety of bugs such as making TalkBack not speak upon receiving a phone call until the user had touched the screen.[12]
5.2 April 2017 Added a verbosity setting for speech, added audible feedback for zooming in and out, the ability to hear password character count in Chrome, as well as a variety of other fixes and improvements.[13]

References

  1. ^ Jerry Hildenbrand (16 September 2014). "What is Google TalkBack?". Android Central.
  2. ^ Li, Abner (2018-06-20). "Google renames TalkBack app to Android Accessibility Suite with latest update". 9to5Google. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  3. ^ "Android Accessibility Suite - Apps on Google Play". play.google.com. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  4. ^ "Commits · google/talkback". GitHub. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  5. ^ "LICENSE". Github. Retrieved 2021-10-20.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Our all-new TalkBack screen reader". Google. 2021-02-23. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  7. ^ "What's new with TalkBack 9.1 - Android Accessibility Help". support.google.com. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  8. ^ "Google TalkBack adds a Braille keyboard for the visually impaired". xda-developers. 2020-04-09. Retrieved 2021-11-03.
  9. ^ "Android Accessibility Suite 7.3 exits beta, brings screen search and other TalkBack additions [APK Download]". Android Police. 2019-03-26. Retrieved 2021-11-03.
  10. ^ "Android Accessibility Suite 7.2 adds camera support to Select to Speak, TalkBack control changes, and more". Android Police. 2018-11-21. Retrieved 2021-11-03.
  11. ^ Li, Abner (2018-06-20). "Google renames TalkBack app to Android Accessibility Suite with latest update". 9to5Google. Retrieved 2021-11-03.
  12. ^ Meddaugh, J. J. "TalkBack 6.1 Beta Adds Quick Language Switching, Enhanced Navigation in Native Apps - Blind Bargains". www.blindbargains.com. Retrieved 2021-11-03.
  13. ^ "[Update: More Details on Select to Speak] Google TalkBack 5.2 is out of beta with speech verbosity settings, Select to Speak, and more [APK Download]". Android Police. 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2021-11-03.