Google has partnered with Samsung to create a new version of TalkBack, an accessibility service that provides voice feedback on what is displayed or happening on screen. TalkBack came out in the early days of Android, but in 2018 Google incorporated it into the Android Accessibility Suite app alongside other services aimed at helping disabled users use their smartphones.
At Galaxy Unpacked, Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer announced the new version of TalkBack, stating that it will be “available on Galaxy first.” The Galaxy S21 series was the star of the show at the event, so it’s likely that Samsung’s latest flagships will be the first to take advantage of Google’s revamped screen reader service.
“As part of our commitment to making computing accessible to everyone, we worked with Samsung to develop a new version of TalkBack, a Google screen reader, first available on Galaxy. It can really help shape the future of how everyone interacts with their phones. Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP of Platforms and Ecosystems at Google.
Google followed up on this announcement with a brief mention of the revamped TalkBack in a blog post. The company says, “TalkBack has been redesigned so that people who are blind or have difficulty seeing their screens can use comments and voice gestures to navigate their phones without having to look at the screen. We’ve reached out to Google to find out what features have been added to this revamped version of TalkBack, and we’ve received the following statement:
“TalkBack is a Google screen reader included on Android devices. Using comments and voice gestures, it delivers a full phone experience without having to look at your screen. Working with blind and visually impaired communities, this revamped version of TalkBack includes many user wishlist items: new, more intuitive multi-finger gestures, a unified menu, new reading controls, and customizable menus and gestures. . “- Google spokesperson
We were told that the new version of TalkBack will be coming to other devices soon.
Google has updated the Android Accessibility Suite app with new features for TalkBack only a handful of times in the past. In October 2020, the company actually released new multi-finger gesture options, while in April 2020, the company added a Braille keyboard. We don’t have any screenshots to share showing the revamped TalkBack, but if you decide to grab a Galaxy S21 or own a recent Galaxy device, you’ll be the first to experience the new version.