My watch told me I have a leak

We’ve written about Google’s Live Transcribe app before. It's an app that turns speech into text for live conversations and quite literally adds subtitles to everyday life.

One of the engineers behind the app, Dimitri Kanevsky, shared his story at TechSharePro 2019. Dimitri demonstrated how the app was able to be trained with non-typical voice patterns to provide people who may have non-typical speech with an option to translate their speech to written text for others. 

Identifying external noises

Graphic with 'water running' notification saying 'this sound is detected nearby'

Updates to the app added important conversational cues such as laughter and applause, and then more environmental sounds like “door knocking” or a “doorbell” as well as noises such as “smoke alarm”, “running water” or “crying baby”.

If the app picks up these sounds your phone will not only display this as text, but can vibrate or flash a coloured light (depending on your model of phone), so if you can’t hear these sounds, they can be drawn to your attention visually.

'Environmental' sound notifications

At the beginning of October 2020, Google announced that it was adding the environmental notifications to Wear OS; the operating system that runs on the Android watch.

This means that if your phone picks up one of these, it will send a notification through to your Android watch to let you know - untethering you from your smartphone to a certain degree, but still requiring your smartphone to be somewhere where it is likely to be able to hear these important sounds.

The google smart speaker with four lights on topThe next logical step - considering Google's increasing presence in the world of the smart home and connected devices - would be for any device with a microphone (smartspeakers/assistants, cameras, doorbells) to be used in a network across your home, listening out for these important sounds when you might not be able to.

November 2020: TechShare Pro 2020 tickets available!

Google will be speaking at this year's TechShare Pro, which will take place online from 17-19 November. Find out more and register at the link below. Not for profit pricing tickets available.

Register now >>

Accessibility Insights with Google: Christopher Patnoe: Tuesday 10 November

Robin Christopherson and Christopher Patnoe

On Tuesday 10 November 2020, 1pm GMT join AbilityNet's Robin Christoherson (pictured above, right) who will be chatting with Christopher Patnoe (pictured above, left), Head of Accessibility Programs and Disability Inclusion at Google on our webinar in our Accessibility Insights webinar series.

Register for the free webinar to learn from Christopher about inclusivity developments at Google and discuss topics including:

  • Covid-19
  • The future of digital accessibility 
  • Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence 

Register for the free webinar >>

Further resources