We aren't at the point yet where every Android phone is able to transcribe voice calls in real time, but what Google is doing with its video chat service Duo is a good first step: the app is now enabling captions for recorded voice and video messages.
As part of today's Pixel 4a festivities, Google has also announced a new feature that's coming to older Pixels as well. Remember Google's Live Caption feature that transcribes speech in real-time, on-device, for things like videos? Well, Live Caption will now also work for video and voice calls — more useful than ever in these socially distant times.
Android is doing its darndest to become a better OS update by update — even beyond the actual OS upgrades. New pushes to Google Play Services and apps will improve how people reach emergency services, get them to bed, and bring the world clearer and closer to those with vision loss.
Communication for the deaf and hard-of-hearing can be a tricky proposition sometimes in a world of sound, but there are always great adaptations out there that can help bridge the interpretation gap. Cue the coronavirus pandemic: everyone is a wearing a mask these days and that has left those who could lip read a challenge to figure out if they're getting the messages they need.
Google's Sound Amplifier takes sound picked up by your phone's microphones and pipes it directly into your earbuds. It's a great idea, but its utility has historically been limited by the app only working with wired headsets. Version 3.0, rolling out now, lifts that restriction, finally letting users listen through Bluetooth headphones.
Google is working on making Android as inclusive as possible, only recently updating features like Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier. Along with announcing the improvements to these accessibility functions, the company has also shared that it's launching a new app called Action Blocks. The app is targeted at people with cognitive disabilities, but it certainly looks like it can be useful for anybody. It lets you create single-tap actions for Google Assistant in the form of widgets instead of having to say them over and over.
People who rely on wheelchairs, rollators, or other mobility aids know how frustrating it is to deal with raised steps and narrow spaces in restaurants in shops. It also can be inconvenient or downright impossible to look up accessibility information for many public areas. So, in light of today being Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Google Maps is officially introducing a new mode highlighting accessible places on the app.
A year ago, Google introduced two accessibility apps for Android: Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier. As the name implies, the first one lets deaf and hard-of-hearing people use their phones to instantly transcribe any conversation around them and read it on their screen. The app has now been updated to v3.0 and gained two new features: Custom words and Vibrate when name is spoken.
Live Caption, which was first introduced during Google I/O 2019 as a Pixel 4 exclusive, is a game-changing addition to the suite of accessibility features built into Android 10. Using Live Caption allows those with deafness or other hearing disabilities to follow along with video content, while Android generates captions in real-time. It appears that the feature may be getting ready to make the leap from smartphones to computers as work is underway to bring the feature to Chrome, according to a new code commit to the Chromium Gerrit.
We've got a couple of quick new features to run through on the YouTube Android app that will hopefully make sorting your subscriptions out easier as well as help you better control your playback experience. Let's get to it.