Live Caption on the Pixel 4 can't transcribe phone or video calls — yet

What you need to know

  • Live Caption will automatically transcribe the spoken audio on your smartphone, excluding audio and video calls.
  • Initially, it will only work for English and begin rolling out to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a later this year.
  • Google is working on adding support for more languages in the future and expanding it to more Android phones in the coming year.

In Google's mission to truly make Android for everyone, it continues to innovate and bring new features to make Android more accessible. One such feature is Live Caption, which will be able to automatically transcribe and caption almost any source of audio on your smartphone.

I say almost any because Live Caption works with all spoken audio on your device except for phone and video calls. That means it will be great for captioning videos or podcasts, but not so useful if you were hoping to use it for your calls.

What makes the technology even more impressive is that Google is able to make this happen completely on-device. That's right, you won't need a cellular or Wi-Fi connection for Live Caption to work, as it happens entirely locally and completely private.

Live Caption also offers some customization by allowing you to move and position the text anywhere on the screen — no more covering up your movies with captions when you can just move them into the black bars at the bottom or top. Plus, if you want to see more text at once, you'll be able to double-tap to expand the caption box.

While Live Caption is a fantastic accessibility option for those with hearing loss or impairment, it can also be useful for those of us who don't want to disturb others. Whether you are trying to enjoy a quick video in public or forgot your headphones, sometimes it's not convenient to enjoy media with the sound on. That's where Live Caption can step in and help all of us.

Live Caption is available for the Pixel 4 out of the box, but as we learned yesterday, won't come to the Pixel 3 or 3a until December. Google is also working to expand it to other Android phones in the coming year. Initially, it will support just English, but there are plans to add more languages in the near future. 

Jason England