Android Upgrades Gboard Grammar Check and Extends Live Transcribe Offline
Google has augmented its Android features with a collection of improvements including the ability to that can detect grammatical errors on Gboard. The update also makes the accessibility feature Live Transcribe work even without internet access to better serve deaf and hard-of-hearing users.
The new Grammar Check feature for Gboard builds on the existing spell check option after a preview rollout last year for Pixel smartphones. When Gboard spots a problem in the grammar of a message, it will underline it in blue and offer potential corrections. It’s a natural rival for Grammarly, already popular on Android devices, but with the benefit of first-party support. Whether Google can convince fans of Grammarly’s linguistic support to switch is unclear, however. The update also includes an expanded Emoji Kitchen, with more than 2,000 new mashups and the ability to suggest stickers based on what the user types out.
“More than just a spell check, the new grammar correction feature on Gboard works entirely on your device to detect grammatical errors and offer suggestions to help you bring your thoughts to life,” Google Product Manager Phil Ou explained in a blog post. “When words aren’t enough to tell your story, Emoji Kitchen now has more than 2,000 new emoji mashups available as stickers via Gboard. You can make it rain 🍔, share your love for 🥨 or make your favorite emoji sparkle 💫 in an endless array of messaging possibilities. And for Pixel users, Gboard will convert your words into colorful stickers built with your exact text when typing in messaging apps in English.”
Android introduced Live Transcribe as a communications tool for those with impaired hearing. Created in partnership with Gallaudet University, the top university for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, Live Transcribe performs real-time speech-to-text captions so that those who can’t hear can read what someone is saying to them. The app required a connection to the cloud when it launched in 2019 and continued to have that requirement until now. The latest version shifts the feature offline so that it can be used without internet access.
“Developed in collaboration with the premier university for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, Gallaudet University, Live Transcribe provides real-time speech-to-text captions to enable everyday in-person conversations between people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing,” Ou wrote. “Preinstalled on Pixel and Samsung devices and available as a free download to all, the app now offers an offline mode for when Wi-Fi and data aren’t available, like on an airplane, in the subway, or in other areas without consistent internet access.”