Live Caption, Google’s automatic captioning technology, is now available on Pixel 4
Google recently announced its real-time captioning system Live Caption will be officially available in conjunction with the launch of the company’s new mobile device, the Pixel 4. The company also plans to retrofit its older devices with the system, such as the Pixel 3, 3XL, 3f and Pixel 3a XL by the end of this year and expand this list even further in the following year. After the function becomes available on all (or most) of Google’s devices, Live Caption will start appearing on other Android devices as well. According to Google, the company is already working with phone manufacturers to bring the function to a wider variety of mobile devices.
Live Caption was first unveiled at a developer conference in May, and Google has offered similar technology in its YouTube automatic captioning systems, but automatic captioning is far from broadly available. Even with the new rollout, there is still no function to caption audio messages in messenger apps, or in videos on social media (unless the creator added them independently), just to name a few examples. This isn’t just a question of accessibility, but convenience as well.
Live Action works by capturing the spoken word and processing it in real time to generate captions in the appropriate places of the video or audio file.
Although the processing happens completely on your device and not in the cloud, audio and video calls will not have this function. The bonus, however, is that even if your device isn’t connected to the internet, the function will still work. All the generated captions will remain secure on the device.
The upgraded Recorder app, which comes with the Pixel 4, will work in a similar fashion. The recorded voice (or voices) will be processed on the phone and allow the user to transcribe lectures, interviews, meetings or anything else that happen to be recorded with the app, all without going into the cloud. The fact that all the data will be stored in the phone’s memory, should give privacy-conscious users a piece of mind.
The function can be activated by tapping an on-screen slider during the media playback, which will then generate a caption box that can be moved to anywhere on the screen, so as to not block the parts of the video that you want to see. At the time of the launch, only English will be supported as part of the feature, but Google claims that many more languages will be available in the future.