Google may be developing a caption or transcription feature for its Duo video chat application.
According to a screenshot shared by leaker Jane Manchun Wong — well known for digging around in the code of popular apps and revealing work-in-progress features — Duo users may soon be able to add captions to messages.
While the core of Google Duo is video calling, the app can actually do quite a bit more. For example, Duo lets users send each other notes, video messages and audio messages. However, the screenshot shared by Wong shows a new setting that allows Duo to add captions to those messages. It’s not immediately clear which version of Duo had the setting and we don’t have any sort of timeline on the feature’s arrival.
Google Duo is working on messages transcription pic.twitter.com/kEltrIKULj
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 27, 2020
It’s also worth noting that, at least for some people, this new feature isn’t necessary at all. Google introduced ‘Live Caption’ with Android 10 on the Pixel 4 and the feature has since made its way to the older Pixel 3, 3a and 2 phones as well as some newly released devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series. Live Caption works entirely on-device and transcribes audio to display it as text for people to read.
In other words, people with access to the Live Caption feature probably don’t need another transcription feature, especially one that’s built exclusively into one app. However, Duo users without one of the select phones sporting Live Caption — or, the vast majority of them — will benefit from the captions feature.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as robust as Live Caption. The main difference between the two features is that Duo’s integrated transcription feature needs to send audio to Google for transcription. While the settings option shared by Wong indicates audio isn’t stored, there will undeniably be some privacy concerns. It also means the feature will likely require access to the internet, but chances are if you’re sending or receiving Duo video messages, you’ve got an internet connection anyway.