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Google introduces Live Caption and Live Relay for those with hearing disabilities

At Google I/O, the company took some time to address accessibility concerns and features to help users with disabilities communicate more easily. The company had some new tools to announce that make it easier for these users to enjoy content and communicate more easily.

First, there's Live Transcribe, an app first announced a couple of months ago, which transcribes real-life conversations in real time so that deaf users can understand what's happening. Building off of this, Google also announced Live Caption today, and it essentially means that videos played on your phone can automatically be transcribed and subtitled in real time. This feature seems to be part of Android and accessible from the volume menu that pops up when the volume buttons are pressed.

Going even further, Google wants to use this technology to make it possible for these users to engage in phone calls. Specifically, Google is working on Live Relay, which not only transcribes what the caller on the other side is saying but also makes it possible to respond using text, which will be synthesized into speech so the other caller can hear a response. Right now, this feature is still being researched, so there's no indication when it will be launched to the public.

Also in the research phase is Project Euphonia. Google is trying to develop speech recognition models that are more inclusive towards people with speech impediments, such as those that may have suffered a stroke or suffer from sclerosis. The company is early into the process of developing this technology, and it's asking users who suffer from these conditions to sign up to provide more data to make the models more reliable.

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