Similar to the new feature provided by Apple in the iOS 14 update, Google has introduced a new feature for the Android system that alerts deaf users in the event of water running, a dog barking or a fire alarm, according to what was published by the British “Daily Mail”.
The new application notifies users of “critical” sounds by sending an audible notification to the hard of hearing, vibrations on smartphones, or flashing camera lights for the deaf.
The company also clarified that the audio notification is designed to serve about 466 million people in the world who suffer from hearing impairment, and it can also help those who wear headphones or suffer from distraction.
According to the information, the new system has been developed using machine learning programs, and the system transmits warnings via audio notifications through the smartphone’s microphone and recognizes through the phone’s headphones various sounds such as children’s voices, screaming, water flow, smoke and fire alarms, device sirens, knocking on the door and the ringing of the landline phone.
Last year, Google introduced two new options for accessing an application that converts speech into text in real time and alerts the user when his name is spoken out loud in order to call him or warn him of some danger.
With audio notifications, users can choose which sound they want to be alerted to, and how they want to be notified.
The company stresses that the new application takes into account preserving the privacy of users, as it cannot send voice conversations to the user or those around him.
It only processes predefined sounds and is specific to a smartphone device or smart wristwatch, which vibrates to alert the wearer when an important or pre-defined noise is detected only, and what is monitored or recorded is not broadcast over the Internet.
It is noteworthy that Apple previously introduced a similar feature a few months ago that can recognize a small number of sounds, including car horns and cat’s meow.
The issuance of voice notifications from Google comes after the company recently took a wrong step with the deaf community. Last month, the Google-owned YouTube site removed the editorial texts of the group audio comments that appear on its videos, which angered more than Half a million people signed a Change.org petition to reinstate the feature, whose move came just a day after International Deaf Week ended.
Additionally, some early users noticed the audio alerts being hypersensitive or misreading sounds.
In turn, Liam O’Dell, a deaf journalist, commented, “Of course, any application or technology, especially those that rely on machine learning, can be accompanied by some problems at the start of operation.”
O’Dell added that the biggest concern is that receiving such warnings by mistake or inaccurate interpretation could cause “confusion at best, and distress at worst.”
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