Your smartphone will soon be able to caption real-time what is being said in a video

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL rendersPhone Designer
Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL renders Phone Designer

Google usually reserves some of its more interesting features for its Pixel smartphones in order to make them stand apart from the rest of the flagship Android smartphones. One of our favourite features among these has to be 'Live Caption' which made its debut on the Pixel 4.

The feature then went on to be included in older Pixels and now it looks like it will not be exclusive to Pixel phones anymore as Google seems to be planning to build the real-time text captioning feature into Chrome. What this simply means is that you will be able to see real-time captions on your non-Pixel Android smartphone very soon.

According to a report from Android Authority, the Speech On-Device API (SODA) that Live Caption relies on has been spotted in the code for the Google Chrome browser. This suggests that the feature could soon make its way onto desktops and later on smartphones.

What is Live Caption feature?

The Live Caption feature uses Google's AI processing capability to instantly pick up what is being said in a video or audio clip that is being played on the phone and provides captions and text translation on the screen in real time, sort of like the auto-closed captions feature in YouTube, but more accurate.

The feature was demoed last year when Android 10 was announced. It was shown running on a Pixel smartphone and Google actually said that it would be exclusive to the phone initially and would make it to other phones a little later. However, it has been slow to make it to other smartphones. But the wait will be well worth it. In case you were wondering, the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S20 will be the first non-Pixel smartphone to get the new Live Caption feature.

The comments attached to the aforementioned code spotting suggest the functionality in the browser might eventually extend beyond what is possible on Android. So we might see some more bells and whistles added to the feature.

More useful than you think

Live Caption will be of great help for those who have difficulty hearing. However, the feature will also benefit those who are new to a language and could not quite get what the people in the video are saying, or simply when you're watching a video without turning on the volume for privacy or some other reason.

Pixel's Recorder app

The same technology is used in the Recorder app which is yet another Pixel-exclusive app from Google which can transcribe whatever is being said into the phone's mic in real-time.

There's no official confirmation from Google as to when or if we can expect Live Captions functionality in Chrome. But a code is the first sign of an upcoming feature update.