Google has announced a new accessibility feature for Android called Sound Notifications. This capability is rolling out to Android phones as part of the Live Transcribe app, which already lets users have real-life speeches and certain sounds transcribed into text form.
The goal of Sound Notifications is to alert users to important sounds that might be audible around them, but that the users may not notice due to hearing impairments or if they're simply wearing headphones. Once the feature is set up, the phone will listen for sounds such as a baby crying, a dog barking, or water running, and it will let users know in a variety of ways - push notifications, vibration, or even flashing the flashlight on the phone. Additionally, the feature can connect with Wear OS devices to buzz your wrist instead.
Recently, Google rolled out a series of features to its Pixel Buds, and attention alerts were one of them. They worked very similarly to Sound Notifications, but only three types of sounds could be recognized, while this feature can recognize ten. Plus, it doesn't require you to use Pixel Buds.
To alleviate any privacy concerns, Google assures users that the feature works offline, so data isn't being sent to the company. Your phone will keep a timeline from the past few hours so you can see exactly what sounds were heard during specific times.
This is one of the many features making their way to Android phones this fall, as Google has highlighted a few other improvements. These include a new Google TV app that replaces Google Play Movies & TV, more widely available spam protection, Duo screen sharing, and Google Assistant integration with third-party apps.