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Google brings Live Caption for phone calls to more Pixel phones

You no longer need a Pixel 4a to get real-time call transcriptions.

Published onAugust 25, 2020

Google Pixel 4a screen in hand 3
David Imel / Android Authority
  • Google is rolling out phone call Live Captions to Pixel phones beyond the Pixel 4a.
  • Owners of earlier phones can get live transcriptions of voice chats, including from internet-only apps.
  • It’s still available only in English.

You won’t need to buy a Pixel 4a just to get Live Caption for phone calls.

XDA-Developers has learned that Google is rolling out the expanded Live Caption functionality to older Pixel devices, including the Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 4. If you have it, you can visit the Live Caption settings to enable a “caption calls” function. If you turn it on, you can have your phone either perform captioning automatically or ask every time.

We’ve asked Google to comment on the rollout. There haven’t yet been reports of Pixel 2 owners seeing Live Caption, but it might get the feature when the phone lineup already has the standard feature.

See also: Here’s how Android 10’s Live Caption works

The feature uses a combination of machine learning systems to transcribe any voice conversation as it happens. You can generate a searchable record of an important call, in other words. The focus is on phone calls, but it can also apply to voice chats from many messaging services, such as WhatsApp.

It’s not certain when call transcriptions will reach third-party phones with Live Caption support, such as the Galaxy S20 family or recent OnePlus devices. Support for other languages is also a mystery. It could take a long while before you can simply assume you have access. This gets the process started, though, and it may be just a question of when you get call captioning than whether you get it at all.

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