Google was not subtle in saying that it is obsessed with Meet. To be more precise, he is obsessed with dethrone Zoom and get Meet everywhere he can. There have even been rumors that Google, in its zeal to promote Meet as the only true communication platform for all users, could be replacing its simpler Duo video chat platform in two years. As if to prove that everything is still fine in the land of the Duo, Google has just announced a previous rumor that almost puts it on an equal footing with Meet.
It looks like a long time ago, but it was only last February that Jane Manchun Wong saw signs of a transcript feature for the Google Duo. Six months later, Google made it official and announced that the Google Duo now has captions for messages from voice and video.
Despite sharing similar names, it is important to understand that this new feature of Duo is not related to Live Captions, which transcribes the audio of anything played on the device, and Live Transcribe, which does the same for spoken words captured from outside the device. The latter two, as their names indicate, do this live while Duo’s subtitling system happens only after the fact.
To some extent, it is more like YouTube’s caption, as it only transcribes the audio after it has been recorded and sent to Google’s servers. The latter is an important consideration, as it means that the transcript is not happening on the device and is sent to Google, with all the privacy implications that this may have.
Still, the small update is crucial, especially these days, where most of the communication takes place online and via our smartphones. It doesn’t make it look exactly more personal, but it takes the stress out of having to struggle to find a quiet place or put on headphones just to make sense of someone’s video or audio message.