A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration. File picture: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration. File picture: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Android rolls out Sound Notifications: This is why it is important

By Masabata Mkwananzi Time of article published Oct 21, 2020

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Johannesburg - Android has rolled out a new feature called Sound Notifications that provides push notifications for critical sounds around you. This function is designed for the estimated 466 million people in the world with hearing loss.

Once you activate the feature, your Android phone will automatically inform you about some sounds via a push notification, a flash from your camera light or by making your phone vibrate. The feature can also be helpful for someone who temporarily lost their hearing due to an injury, wearing earplugs or headphones.

Other devices support Sound Notifications as well, including Wear OS devices, which can send Sound Notifications via text notifications with vibrations on your wrist when there is important noise detected by your phone.

According to Google Sound Notifications is developed with machine learning, works completely offline and uses your phone's microphone to recognise ten different noises including baby sounds, water running, smoke and fire alarms, appliances beeping, dog barking and door knocking.

Googles added that while they can notify their users about baby sounds or a dog barking, it is also important to know more about the preceding events that might have caused that disturbance. With the Timeline view, users can scroll through a brief snapshot of detected sounds from the past few hours. This shows when and how long the sound occurred to get a better sense of the sound’s importance.

Back in August, Google experimented with a similar feature to Sound Notification to the Pixel Buds. The Pixel Buds Attention Alerts can automatically lower the volume of the headphones when they detect the sounds of a baby crying, dog barking, or the siren of an emergency vehicle.

Sound Notifications are already installed on Pixels phones and selected other Android phones. To start using the feature go into Settings, then the Accessibility menu and enable Sound Notifications, according to Google. You can also get the feature by downloading Google’s Live Transcribe app, which can transcribe audio it hears in real time.

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