Google Duo Getting Closed Captions For Voicemail Soon

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Google's Live Captions within Android 10 puts words to audio and video, and the company is soon to bring Closed Captions to Google Duo.

Google Duo version 82 will bring transcriptions to audio in voicemail messages. Whether receiving an audio voicemail or a video (visual) voicemail, users can expect word transcription for both. The new feature places a "cc" symbol at the top right of the video chat screen. Closed Captions brings an on/off toggle for users. To enable Closed Captions, users can toggle on "Captions for Messages" in Duo's Message Settings.

Google saves your Messages in Duo, on your device, unless you choose otherwise in Duo settings. The screenshots below of the upcoming feature come courtesy of XDA.

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The benefit of Closed Captions

Closed Captions, like Live Captions for Android 10, serve a necessary purpose. There are times when, in audio messages, family and friends talk too quickly or fail to pronounce words as they should. The end result is that someone listening to an audio or video message fails to understand the speaker. While this may not be a problem for most normal messages, it could prove problematic for an important voicemail.

In the current pandemic, for example, someone could try to send a message that a family member or friend is sick and in the hospital. If the user is talking too quickly because they're anxious or grieving, a listener could miss the audio and thus, the message.

Closed Captions also benefit the Hard of Hearing (HoH) and the hearing-impaired. Those who are most unable to hear need not worry about their hearing impairment. With Closed Captions, they can read the words on-screen and immediately understand the point of the message.

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Closed Captions: Needed for Live Video

Closed Captions will only arrive for audio and video voicemail. There is no such feature in the works for live video chat just yet. Of course, users will find this strange. And yet, they must keep in mind that Google often rolls out features on a small scale first before adding them in other places. The small-scale rollout is to ensure that services perform as they should. XDA says that in its initial testing of this beta feature, it discovered noise in video chat. The noise is a problem Google should eliminate before rolling out the feature. On the upside, however, at least Closed Captions will help users understand what's being said. Let's just hope that the noise doesn't drown out the audio for the sake of transcription.

Google Duo version 82 isn't rolling out just yet. In light of the current pandemic, users may not see this feature for some time.