Google is an undisputed leader in voice recognition software, but that software has been used almost exclusively for the Google Assistant. Now, Google is using voice recognition to help the hearing impaired.
This morning, Google released two new Android apps: Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier. You can download Sound Amplifier right now, but Live Transcription is still in its exclusive beta phase. These apps are meant for the hearing impaired, but they aren’t your average accessibility apps.
Screen readers and high contrast visibility settings are the most common accessibility apps. They’re meant to make phones and computers easier to use. But instead of trying to make phones more accessible, Google’s Accessibility Team has decided to try and make the world more accessible.
The Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier apps are meant to change how users with hearing impairment interact with their environment, and these apps could change the way that many people use their phones.
The Live Transcribe app is pretty straightforward. Essentially, it transcribes conversations in real time. When using the Live Transcribe app, words will appear against an easy-to-read background as they’re spoken.
Although this app is still in its early stages, it already supports the live transcription of 70 different languages, which could potentially help people communicate all over the world. Eventually, Live Transcribe should be able to display conversations in an organized fashion. Right now, different speakers’ words are kind of mashed together into a stream of conscious style paragraphs.
The app is in the Play store right now, but it’s still in development. You can add yourself to the beta-testing waitlist right now, but if you can’t wait to see Live Transcription in action, check out Google’s press video.
While the Live Transcription app specifically aims to help anyone with hearing impairments, the Sound Amplifier app is really just for the near-deaf and hard of hearing. When paired with some earbuds or a hearing aid, the Sound Amplifier makes it easier to hear quiet sounds, and cuts out unwanted sounds.
The Sound Amplifier app is essentially an audio enhancer. Google recently made a move to provide native Android support for all ASHA hearing aids, and the Sound Amplifier is a great addition to the accessibility features that Google has already put into place.
The Sound Amplifier is available on the Play store right now, so there’s no rush to add yourself to any waitlists.