Google has unveiled Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, two new Android apps designed to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Potentially, the former can aid those with hearing loss to communicate without the need of interpreters or anything else along those lines.
Its name already gives a good idea of what it can offer: It can transcribe speech in real time, displaying text on the phone as it listens to a conversation. That way, deaf or hard-of-hearing users can read the captions and know exactly what a person is telling them. Also, it works with an external microphone to make more accurate transcriptions.
It features a type-back keyboard made for users who can't or prefer not to speak as well. In other words, it can open up a two-way conversation in just about any case. Last but not least, it supports 70 languages and dialects from the get-go.
The Live Transcribe beta is already open for registrations, and those who are interested can join via Google's dedicated page. It requires a device running at least an Android 5.0 Lollipop. Now the rollout is gradual, and the app will soon be available worldwide on the Play Store, though it's worth noting that the Pixel 3 has it preinstalled.
It was first announced at Google's I/O 2018 event, and what it does is simple and useful: It can make audio sound clearer.
As the company explains, it increases the quiet sounds and takes care not to boost loud sounds too much. Customizable noise reduction features are also at play, and they're capable of filtering out ambient noise up to certain degrees.
Sound Amplifier is already available on the Play Store, and it's compatible with phones running on Android 9 Pie or later. It's also preinstalled on the Pixel 3, just like Live Transcribe.
As mentioned in Google's blog post, the World Health Organization estimates that 900 million people will have some form of hearing loss by 2055. Thanks to accessibility features such as Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, ubiquitous things like Android phones turn into handy devices that can help them in daily interactions and the like.