As of today the fact that the Google mini no longer makes phone calls without the use of Google Duo is a tragic setback for the disabled community. It was predicted to happen in mid December and today is the day when it actually happened. It seems a stealth move which is falling underneath the radar and not made explicit enough in my opinion.
What we feared has happened and sadly this is disempowering blind people with lack of hand function where only voice is the main input to finding things and taking control. I have a blind user who actually depends on this to be more independent and not only receive calls but actually make them.
I am deeply saddened by googles decision to do this. And I would urge the disabled community to stand together and challenge this.
Google recommends Google duo to make the phone calls but that is only part of the story. In order to use Google Duo you have to access your Google contacts. The problem with that is it doesn’t allow for searching the Internet like you used to be able to do and therefore it is not a practical tool for those who struggle with searching for things and making phone calls.
There are two points to this:-
1. Why is the UK only been single out for this?
2. Could something be put in place that can enable disable people to make the phone calls they so earnestly desire to do?
If anyone has an answer to this please get in contact via this website or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This unilateral decision by Google where it’s not haven been consulted about is a great affront to those who fight and champion and help people with disabilities to use Assistive Technology