Not all videos can be played with audio on, whether because you’re in public or you don’t want the people around you to hear it. And of course, there are also 466 million people that are deaf or hard of hearing and would still want to watch videos. That’s why having captions on videos is pretty helpful so you can still watch and listen even when your audio is turned off or you can’t hear it at all. Google is now bringing Live Caption, an automatic captioning system that should be able to do it for you fast.
Live Caption has launched as part of the newly-announced Pixel 4 device so that digital media can be more accessible. It can automatically caption the videos and spoken audio on your phone. Of course, that doesn’t include phone and video calls obviously. But the captioning should happen in real time and Google promises it is fast enough for you to follow along. Everything also happens completely on-device so you don’t need to have cellular data or Wi-Fi and everything stays private.
You can also position the captions anywhere on the screen so it won’t affect your viewing. If you want to see more of the text, you can also double tap the caption box so it can expand. Of course, it doesn’t always mean that the caption will be perfect since it depends on the quality of the sound. Google promises that they will be improving the technology in the next few years.
They developed Live Caption together with several individuals and communities, including Gallaudet University, considered to be the “world’s premier university for Deaf and hard of hearing people”. They had some early testers check it out first before going live to make sure that it will be serving the communities it is meant to serve and also be useful to those who would prefer to use it over actual audio.
Live Caption will roll out to Pixel 4 initially and then to Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL later this year. It currently supports only English but they plan to add more languages soon. They said they will be working with other Android phone manufacturers so we can probably expect it to be present in other devices later on.