Samsung’s Galaxy S20 lineup will be the first non-Pixel phones to gain Google’s Live Caption feature, which transcribes and captions videos in real time with excellent accuracy — even when the volume is turned down. Live Caption debuted on Android 10 with the Pixel 4, and Google positions it as a helpful tool among Android’s accessibility features. It has since come to older Pixel devices, but Samsung is the first outside of Google to offer it.
Live Caption works completely on device, meaning your captions are never sent to Google’s servers or shared with the company. It can’t be used for music, phone calls, or voice-over IP calls, however. And app developers have the option of opting out of sharing their software’s audio with the system; in cases where they do, though, Live Caption won’t work right.
Live Caption isn’t the only way Samsung and Google have deepened their partnership with the Galaxy S20. Google Duo, the video chat app, also gets prominent placement on the new phones and is integrated right into the dialer. Duo’s video quality maxes out at 720p, but Google says the S20 is the first phone that will do 1080p video calls. Samsung says this is made possible by 5G, as is the ability to upload 8K videos from your Galaxy S20 directly to YouTube over a 5G cellular network connection.
Sadly, there was no mention of the Pixel’s Recorder app coming to Samsung’s latest phones. Since it uses the same on-device transcription engine as Live Caption, this would’ve been nice to see. But Recorder remains a Pixel exclusive for now.