Google bringing “Live Captions” to phone calls


When new features are added to Android they aren’t just added all at once. The developers usually add the code bit by bit and luckily for us we have some extremely clever folks over at XDA Developers who trawl through the code of newly released files to find tidbits. These tidbits, especially in pre-release code such as Developer Previews, give us inklings of what Google is planning in the future.

In the latest Developer Preview XDA found snippets of code that lead to a hypothesis that Google are planning on bringing Live Captions to phone calls. Tearing down the Device Personalization Services (the services responsible for Live Captions) apk they found strings that stae that users will be able to turn on Live Captions for a phone call.

CANCEL
Enable Live Caption over this phone call? Your use of the feature will be announced to others on the call.
Enable Live Caption confirmation dialog
ENABLE
Caller
System

You typed

Of course you would expect that such a feature would also include privacy settings so the caller on the other end knows that it is turned on. Google have created an audio file that will play to the call participants saying the following line:

CANCEL
Enable Live Caption over this phone call? Your use of the feature will be annonunced to others on the call.
Enable Live Caption confirmation dialog
Hi, the person you’re about to speak with has call captions turned on. They’ll see captions of what you say to help them listen along.

Hi, the person you’re about to speak with has call captions turned on. They’ll see captions of what you say to help them listen along.

At this stage it looks like this feature will require API changes as the API that Live Captions relies on “does not allow for capturing voice call audio”> XDA speculate that a system-only permission added in the latest Developer Preview will allow bypassing of this limitation.

There is no indication just when this feature will arrive but we expect it to at least arrive in Android 11, if not sooner in one of the beta set to begin being release next month.



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