At Google I/O in May, Google showed off an impressive new accessibility feature coming to Android 10: Live Caption, which can automatically transcribe spoken audio from videos or audio playing on your phone. My colleague Dieter Bohn spent some time with Live Caption when it was announced and found it to be one of the most exciting features coming to Android 10. It’s not just about accessibility, either; think of the moments where you’ve wanted to know what’s being said in a video but didn’t have headphones nearby. Now you can do it without annoying anybody with the loudspeaker, since Live Caption works even if the volume is turned all the way down.
However, Live Caption wasn’t ready in time for Android 10’s release (despite it being advertised on Google’s Android 10 website) — but new evidence suggests it could debut on the Pixel 4 next month.
XDA Developers was able to install Live Caption on a Pixel 2 XL using APKs that were apparently lifted from a Pixel 4 device. And it seems to work just like Google promised. In its tests, XDA Developers successfully tested Live Caption with Amazon Prime Video, Google Photos, Google Podcasts, Netflix, and YouTube. Screenshots seem to show that you’ll be able to quickly activate Live Captions from the volume panel (if you turn this shortcut on in the settings menu), and there’s also a toggle to “mask profanity” if you want to replace many of the letters in inappropriate words with asterisks.
The fact that XDA Developers got this working on a Pixel 2 XL suggests that the feature should technically be able to support phones other than the Pixel 4. But if I had to guess, Google might roll the feature out first on its latest flagship phones before bringing it to other Pixel and Android devices. It has a track record of doing this with big features; last year, Call Screen launched first on the Pixel 3 before expanding to other products.
Google has a hardware event on October 15th, where the company is expected to announce the Pixel 4 (among other new devices) after weeks of thorough leaks. Perhaps we’ll see more of Live Caption and see more demos then.