Google this morning unveiled a pair of new Android features for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. As the company notes in a blog post this morning, the WHO estimates that 900 million people will be living with hearing loss by 2055. The ubiquity of mobile devices — Android in particular — offers a promising potential to help open the lines of communication.
Live Transcribe is, perhaps, the more compelling of the two offerings. As its name implies, the feature transcribes audio in real time, so users with hearing loss can read text, in order to enable a live, two-way conversation. It defaults to white text on a black background, making it easier to read, and also can connect to external microphones for better results.
The feature leverages much of the company’s work in speech to text and translation. It starts rolling out today in limited beta for Pixel 3 users. It will be available in more than 70 languages and dialects.
Announced back at last year’s Google I/O, Sound Amplifier is designed to filter out ambient and unwanted noise, without boosting the volume on already loud sounds. The feature works with headphones, letting users manually adjust the settings for the right fit. That one is available now via the Play Store.