×

The Next Version of Android Adds Live Captions to Every Video App

When Google introduced the next version of its Android operating system at its Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, Calif. Tuesday, it also previewed a new feature that could give a massive boost to video viewing on the go: Live Caption will allow Android users to turn on captions for any video running on their devices, whether these videos come with native closed captioning or not.

Google billed Live Caption as an accessibility feature that is meant to simplify video viewing for an estimated 466 million deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide. “We believe technology can help us be more inclusive,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

However, the feature could also help anyone who is watching videos on the go without headphones, whether it’s an Instagram video viewed on the subway or a TikTok clip watched while waiting in line.

Live Caption even works for downloaded videos that are viewed on a plane, or in any other scenario without internet access. That’s because Google is using on-device artificial intelligence, something that also adds an extra layer of privacy to the captioning process.

“As soon as speech is detected, captions will appear, without ever needing Wifi or cell phone data, and without any audio or captions leaving your phone,” the company explained in a blog post Tuesday.

Users will still have to enable the feature in a setup menu, and can then access it via the volume menu, according to The Verge. Live Caption will also work for audio sources that don’t come with video, like podcasts.

Separately, the company announced that it had begun to try live captioning for phone calls, which are meant to make calls more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing users.

The new live caption feature will be available via Android Q, the next version of Google’s mobile operating system. Google announced Tuesday that it was making a beta version of Android Q available on 21 devices from 13 manufacturers, including LG, Sony and Huawei, as well as its own Pixel phones, effective immediately. The final version of Android Q is expected to launch this fall.

 

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • MINDHUNTER

    Netflix's Podcast Slate 'Deepens' Space Around Original Content, Programmers Say

    It should come as no surprise that, in its quest to become a full-blown entertainment ecosystem, Netflix has built a roster of podcast programming to complement its scores or original series and films. The programs recruit top talent and hosts to hang out and talk about the streaming giant’s TV and film content. It’s a [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Is Testing Human-Curated 'Collections'

    Netflix, a company powered by the strategic use of data, relies on artificial intelligence to suggest new content that its streaming customers are likely to be interested in. Now it’s looking to potentially add a human touch: The company has launched a limited-scale test of “Collections,” a new feature that presents groups of movies and [...]

  • wolves in the walls emmy

    Neil Gaiman VR Experience 'Wolves in the Walls' Wins Primetime Emmy

    “Wolves in the Walls,” the virtual reality (VR) experience based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same name, has been awarded with a Primetime Emmy for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The experience has been produced by San Francisco-based immersive entertainment startup Fable, which puts a big effort on making the viewer a participating [...]

  • The Void San Francisco

    The Void Teams Up With Sony Pictures for New Location-Based VR Experience

    James Murdoch-backed virtual reality (VR) startup The Void has teamed up with Sony Pictures Virtual reality to produce a new location-based VR experience, according to Curtis Hickman, the startup’s chief creative officer. Hickman revealed the partnership in a conversation with Variety this week, during which he also outlined plans to bring more original IP to [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • Former head of CAA China Peter

    Peter Loehr to Spearhead Asia Expansion of Genies Avatar Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Peter Loehr, the former head of CAA in China, and seasoned music executive John Possman have been tapped by digital avatar company Genies to lead its expansion into Asia. The company’s proprietary avatar technology allows users to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a different way from text, audio and video. Within the app and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content