During Google's I/O conference earlier this year, the search giant unveiled the main features of Android 10 such as live caption, among many other capabilities. Today, the company announced that it is launching that accessibility feature to the Pixel 4 series, with plans to bring it to the Pixel 3 phones later this year.
Brian Kemler, Product Manager for Android Accessibility at Google, wrote in a blog post that live caption automatically adds captions to videos and audio in real time even without an internet connection. That means caption processing occurs only on a device so that they remain private, according to Kemler. In addition, you can position the caption anywhere on the screen so that it won't block your view.
To turn on the new capability, simply single-tap a prompt that shows up after pressing the volume button. With a double tap, you can also expand the caption box and see more text. However, live caption does not apply to phone and video calls.
Google says it has collaborated with the hard-of-hearing community and partners such as Gallaudet University to build the new feature. It will be compatible only with English at first, though support for more languages will be added in the future. Google also acknowledges that some errors may occur with live caption, depending on sound quality.
In addition to the Pixel 4 and Pixel 3 families of phones, live caption is also planned for more types of Android devices from other manufacturers in 2020. The feature is just one of Google's tools for people with hearing disabilities, including live transcribe for transcribing conversations in real time and automated closed captions for Google Slides.