Google took the stage at the Google I/O conference in California to talk about an interesting research project, Live Relay. Using on-device speech recognition and text-to-speech conversion, the project will allow the phone to listen and speak on the users' behalf while they type. By offering instant responses and predictive writing suggestions, Smart Reply and Smart Compose help make typing fast enough to hold a synchronous phone call. Live Relay could help people make and receive phone calls without voice or hearing.
In the U.S., for example, there are relay and real-time text (RTT) services available for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. These offer advantages in some situations, and Google's goal is not to replace these systems. Rather, Google aims to complement them with Live Relay as an additional option for the contexts where it can help most, like handling an incoming call or when the user prefers a fully automated system for privacy consideration.
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In simple words, Live Relay uses on-device speech recognition and text-to-speech conversion to allow the phone to listen and speak on the users' behalf while they type. By offering instant responses and predictive writing suggestions, Smart Reply and Smart Compose help make typing fast enough to hold a synchronous phone call.
Live Relay will run entirely on the device. There won't be any data privacy issues as Google claims that the calls will be kept private. This can work flawlessly with the calls connected from a landline as the other end would just hear the conversation as a regular call, without the need for data connectivity.
Google believes that in the long term, Live Relay will be able to help all users. For instance, in situations where people end up missing an important call just because they are unable to step out and chat. With Live Relay, users will be able to take that call anywhere, anytime with the option to type instead of talk.
Google is also exploring the integration of real-time translation capability, for users to potentially call anyone in the world and communicate regardless of language barriers. Tech giant refers to it as the power of designing for accessibility first.
Live Relay is still in the research phase but is looking forward to the day it can give users more and better ways to communicate-especially those who may be underserved by the options available today.
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