Live Captions on Android Q to save you from in-transit embarrassments

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New Delhi | Published: May 8, 2019 6:30:05 PM

Android Q features: Live Captions does not need the Internet to fetch data from Google servers

Google is introducing Live Captions on Android Q

At I/O 2019, Google gave a synopsised version of everything that is coming on Android Q. With its Beta 3 build now available to download, Android Q is running on 21 devices belonging to 12 OEMs, Google said at the keynote. But only a few features were as exciting as they were new, provided the previous Android Q beta builds have openly revealed many features.

Of all the features, Live Captions is quite a nifty one that Google demoed on stage. What it essentially does is use the compilation of voice recognition data over the years to figure out what is being said in a video to generate related captions. Live Captions will work on all the apps – your phone’s native video player, inside a chat app, Facebook, and of course, YouTube.

The fact that Live Captions does not need the Internet to fetch data from Google servers makes it a useful feature. Google says it is leveraging the data it has collected over the years to provide resources for real-time, accurate caption generation. The Cupertino-based giant proudly announced at the I/O that it managed to shrink down 100GB server data to just 0.5GB so that it can be pushed to the on-device chips responsible for machine learning.

During the demo at the I/O, Google showed a Pixel 3a phone playing a video with Live Captions running along towards the bottom. The snippet carrying the captions can be expanded, contracted, even floated around the screen, and finally closed with a drag-down. All of this was happening on airplane mode. Live Captions not only lets the users watch a video without volume, for example when commuting in public transit, but it also helps people who have lost their ability to hear.

The text-to-voice capabilities of Google Assistant and Google Lens are also gaining more use cases. Google Lens is finally making its way to Google Go – the stripped down version of Google App for Android Go devices. Google Lens on these phones can read text aloud, in addition to translating it and reading in the translated language. Google is targeting the users who have sprung up on the Web for the first time and do not know how to read.

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