Google Pixel update introduces live captions and text-to-speech accessibility for calls

Ben Bayliss2 minute read

Google Pixel mobile phones now have live captions and text-to-speech for audio call accessibility in a 10th Feature Drop update.

Announced by Google (via, Mashable) back on March 7, the Google Pixel update includes features for accessibility during audio calls. Live captions will now be available to display on the phone screen during a call, and when activated users can also type messages that will be read out to the other person by using text-to-speech.

Google Pixel live captions can be activated by pressing the volume button on the side of the device, followed by tapping the icon on-screen. A box will appear —similarly to Google Chrome’s live caption feature— and will display the captions for the other user as well as any text by you, tagged with a “You” indicator to differentiate between the speakers.

Watch Your Pixel Just Got Better - Pixel’s 10th Feature Drop on YouTube

The preview shows the user’s phone muting and allowing manual text input to be read out to the caller. There are also suggestions that appear so the user can automatically tap and send messages quickly based on what the caller has said. A mute icon appears in the top-left as well which indicates that the user can still use their microphone should they wish to talk and read captions at the same time.

The update also includes other features such as an Interpreter mode that can be used to live translate face-to-face conversations in Spanish, French, and Italian. There is also At a Glance widgets that can be added to the phone’s lock screens to display information on battery levels, reminders for alarms, and more.

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Ben
BaylissEditor-in-ChiefHe/Him

Ben is the one in charge of keeping the content cogs at Can I Play That? turning. Deafness means that he has a focus on discussing captions, but with experience in consultancy and advocacy, he covers what bases he can. Having written about accessibility in video games at DualShockers, GamesRadar+, GamesIndustry.biz, Wireframe, and more he continues his advocacy at CIPT. He was actually awarded a Good Games Writing award for an article he wrote here! He enjoys a range of games, but anything that’s open-world and with a photo mode will probably be his cup of tea. You can get in touch with him at: ben@caniplaythat.com

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