Accessibility was one of the key topics at the Google I/O developer conference this year. At the event, Google introduced us to three new initiatives to improve the lives of persons with disabilities: Live Captions on Android Q, Live Relay, and Project Euphonia. Project Euphonia is designed to recognize the speech of persons with speech impairments, and it’s an extension to another accessibility tool that Google announced earlier this year: Live Transcribe. Live Transcribe translates speech into text in real-time so the deaf and hard of hearing can more easily participate in conversations. The accessibility service supports 70 languages and dialects, switching between two languages, external microphones, and typing responses, but today Google has announced that they’re adding two new features: sound event detection and transcription saving.
Sound Event Detection
If you’re in the middle of a chat and you hear something like a dog barking or a person knocking on your door, Live Transcribe will soon automatically insert these sound events to give you context about what’s happening in your surroundings. Other “non-speech audio cues” that Google says are supported include “clapping, laughter, music, applause, or the sound of a speeding vehicle.”
Transcripts will now be stored locally on your device for three days. This is particularly useful for transcribing a lecture or interview.
Download Live Transcribe
Live Transcribe is in beta on the Google Play Store, but it’s also pre-installed on the Google Pixel 3 running the latest software releases. Any device running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later can install the free app.
Google says they’re working to bring more accessibility services like the ones they announced at I/O 2019. Android Q, for example, introduces native support for Bluetooth hearing aids. We here take a lot of Android features for granted, but not everyone is born able-bodied so I’m glad that Google is working to make Android more useful for everyone.
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