Google's Live Caption may soon become more emotionally expressive on Android

Live Caption
(Image credit: Google)

Google is reportedly working on implementing several customization features to the Live Caption accessibility feature on mobile devices. Evidence of this update was discovered by software deep diver Assemble Debug after digging through the Android System Intelligence app. According to an image given to Android Authority, there will be four options in total. We don't know much, but there is a little bit of explanation to be found. 

The first one allows Android phones to display "emoji icons" in a caption transcript; perhaps to better convey what emotions the voices expressing. The other three aren't as clear. The second feature will “emphasize emotional intensity in [the] transcription” while the third is said to include the “word duration [effects]” and the ability to display “emotional tags.”

Feature breakdown

As you can see, the wording is pretty vague, but there’s enough to paint a picture. It seems Live Caption will become better at replicating emotions in voices it transcribes. Say, for example, you’re watching a movie and someone is angrily screaming. Live Caption could perhaps show text in all caps to signify yelling. 

The feature could also slant words in a line to indicate whenever someone is being sarcastic or trying to imply something. Word duration effect could refer to the software showing drawn out letters in a set of captions. Maybe someone is singing in and they begin to hold a note. The sound that’s being held could be displayed thanks to this toggle. 

Emotional tags is admittedly more difficult to envision. Android Authority mentions the tags will be shown and included in a transcript. This could mean that the tool is going to add clear indicators within transcriptions of what a subject is expressing at the moment. Users might see the word “Angry” pop up whenever a person is feeling angry about something or “Sad” whenever someone is crying.

Greater utility

That’s our best guess. If these rumored features do operate as described, it would give Live Caption even greater utility than what it already has. The tool was introduced back in 2019 as an accessibility tool to help people enjoy content if they’re hard of hearing or can’t turn on the sound for whatever reason.

The current captions are rather plain, but with update, emotions could be added to Google’s tool for a better immersive experience.  

Android Authority claims the the features were found in a “variant of the Android System Intelligence app”. We believe this means that they were located inside a special version of the app meant for first-party hardware like the Google Pixel. So the customization tools may be exclusive to the Pixel 8 or a future model. It’s too early to tell at the moment. Hopefully, the upgraded Live Captions sees a much wider release.

Until we learn more, check out TechRadar's list of the best Android phones for 2024.

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Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.