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Android’s new sound notifications can let you know when your dog is barking

The Verge logo The Verge 10/8/2020 Jay Peters
a close up of a light © Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Android phones can now notify you when they detect certain sounds, which could notify people who are deaf or hard of hearing about important sounds nearby.

If you turn on the feature, called Sound Notifications, you can have your Android phone inform you about some sounds via a push notification, a flash from your camera light, or by making your phone vibrate. Other devices support Sound Notifications as well, including Wear OS devices, which can send Sound Notifications via text notifications with vibrations. And they work entirely offline, according to Google.

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Google says Sound Notifications can listen for ten different noises:

  • Smoke and fire alarms
  • Sirens
  • Shouting
  • Baby sounds
  • Doorbell ringing
  • Knocking
  • Dog barking
  • Appliance beeping
  • Water running
  • Landline phone ringing

Sound Notifications are already installed on Pixel phones and “select other Android phones” and can be turned on from the accessibility menu in settings, 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.

Google added an experimental feature similar to Sound Notifications to the Pixel Buds in August. 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.

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