Google announced Monday that it’s launching a beta for a new Android feature called Live Transcribe, which can accurately create written captions from speech on the fly. It’s an accessibility-focused project made to help people with hearing loss communicate without making special arrangements or purchasing expensive equipment.
Live Transcribe seems easy to use: Once activated in Android Accessibility settings menu, you can start a transcription session by pressing the accessibility button and selecting “Live Transcribe.” It requires an internet connection to use, but, importantly, Google does not store transcripts on its servers, so you theoretically retain privacy and security.
According to Google, Live Transcribe supports 70 languages at launch and supports language switching for quick translation and transcription. In addition to transcribing speech, it also supports two-way text chat for non-speaking users.
If you have an Android phone and think Live Transcribe could help you or someone in your life, you can sign up to join the beta. It works with any phone running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. Google says Live Transcribe will roll out to users “gradually,” so don’t expect to gain access right away — unless you have a Pixel 3, where it’s already pre-installed.