Next up for Android apps: Voice control

An upcoming Google I/O developer session promises "Your app, now available hands-free" thanks to Voice Access; a new way to control Android apps through speech.

You might not be touching the screen as much to use Android apps in the near future if Google has anything to say about it. The company will debut Voice Access, a new way to use apps through voice control, at its Google I/O developer event later this month.

The full schedule of Google I/O became available on Wednesday and Android Police quickly spotted a developer session titled "Your app, now available hands-free":

What if you could provide users with a new method of access to your apps with little to no development overhead? In this talk, we introduce Voice Access, a service that gives anyone access to their Android device through voice alone. We will focus on simple steps developers can follow to ensure that Voice Access provides an optimal experience within their apps.

While there aren't any additional details on Voice Access, it appears Google will make a push for developers to easily add support for voice commands at the individual application level, perhaps through a Google Play Services update or in the next version of Android, tentatively dubbed Android M.

Obviously, not every function of every app is ideal for voice commands. And in a room filled with people, you're not likely to use voice interaction with a mobile a device. The touchscreen isn't going away anytime soon, then.

Still, there are many situations where a hands-free experience is better suited for app interaction. Think of driving -- Android Auto, anyone? -- or when your hands are simply full due to other tasks. There are obvious benefits for voice control in the right place and time. We'll have to wait a few weeks yet to see how Google plans to implement this and if developers will take Google up on Voice Access.

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