Google is bringing the Pixel 4’s Live Caption tech to its Pixel 3 series, two months after unveiling the feature for the first time.
The company began rolling the real-time transcription service out to Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a users on Tuesday.
With the tap of a button, fans of Google’s 2018 and early 2019 models can now automatically generate captions for pretty much any audio or video content on their phones.
The feature was designed as a tool for users who are hard of hearing or simply need a bit of help following the audio on their phone, whether that is because they are learning a new language, trying not to wake a baby or struggling to hear their favourite podcast on a busy train.
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“Live Caption wouldn’t have been possible without the Deaf and hard of hearing communities who helped guide us from the very beginning”, wrote Android Accessibility Product Manager Brian Kemler back in October. “Similar to how we designed Live Transcribe earlier this year, we developed Live Caption in collaboration with individuals from the community and partners like Gallaudet University, the world’s premier university for Deaf and hard of hearing people. An early Deaf tester, Naiajah Wilson, explained how Live Caption would impact her daily life: “Now I don’t have to wake up my mom or dad and ask what’s being said””.
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Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects to Live Caption is that it works offline – the app processes speech directly on your device. You can even adjust the size of the captions or drag them around the screen so, if you’re watching a video, you know they’ll never get in the way of anything important.
Unfortunately, the feature is not yet able to transcribe phone calls. It is also only available in English right now, though Google does have plans to support more languages in the future.
Live Caption was initially introduced alongside the Pixel 4 at the Made By Google event in October. The update will continue to roll out across Pixel 3 and 3a handsets this week.