What is Google Live Caption and how does it work?

(Pocket-lint) – Those of you who are hearing-impaired or love to watch videos with captions on will be sure to enjoy Google‘s Live Caption feature. It’s available on Google Pixel devices from the Pixel 2 and up, as well as other selected Android handsets.

What is Google Live Caption?

At Google I/O in May 2019, Google introduced a new automatic captioning system called Live Caption.

What it does is automatically serve up captions in real-time for all audio on your mobile device (including voice calls on Pixel phones). It’s an accessibility feature for the 466 million people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. But it can also come in handy for people who are on a loud commuter train, for instance, or trying not to wake a baby while they’re listening to a podcast. 

Live Caption works on videos, podcasts, and audio messages – all without Wi-Fi or data needed.

How does Google Live Caption work?

Live Caption works entirely on your Android mobile device, so data or a Wi-Fi connection is not required. To enable Live Caption, press the volume button on your Android phone. Under the volume slider you will see an icon, a square shape with some lines and dots in it, tap this icon to turn Live Caption on or off.

Keep in mind transcriptions might have inaccuracies if the sound quality isn’t great, but Google continues to improve the tech.

How do I change Live Caption settings?

  1. On your device, open Settings.
  2. Tap Sound and then Live Caption.
  3. Under Settings, you can find or change these settings:
    • Turn Live Caption on or off.
    • Hide or show profanity.
    • Hide or show sound labels, such as laughter and applause.
    • Hide or show the Live Caption icon in volume control.
    • Turn call captioning on or off. This setting is for Pixel phones only.

You can also change the caption size, style and colour in Caption preferences.

Which languages does Live Caption support?

Live Caption supports English language only, but Google said there are plans to support more languages in the future.

Which devices offer Live Caption?

Live Caption launched first on Google’s own Pixel 4. It’s now supported on all Pixel devices from the Pixel 2 and up, as well as other supported Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S lineup and flagship OnePlus devices.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Luke Baker. Originally published on 16 October 2019.

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