Google Introduces Automatic Captions for YouTube

Google Video and YouTube were first equipped with captions and subtitles back in September of 2006.  Although this was a big leap toward accessibility, there were still many flaws to be sorted out.  On November 19, Google’s official blog revealed that they now offer automatic captions, or auto-caps.  Google implements a technology called automatic speech recognition that machine-generates captions for videos.  For those who still wish to add captions manually, there is a feature called automatic caption timing that uses that same recognition technology to attach captions at the right time.

Google admits that auto-caps still aren’t perfect.  They provide an example of a mistake in this video:

The blog also highlights the improvements that have been made since the release of auto-caps.  For example, when captions first became available for Google Video and YouTube, they could only run with a Flash player.  Only a handful of videos contained captions, and a lot of bugs still existed, reducing the overall quality of the video.  Now, auto-caps provide real-time captions, automatic translation to other languages, and automatic timing for ease of editing videos.
Check out The New York Times‘ for an in depth article featuring deaf engineer Ken Harrenstien, who helped develop the auto-caps.  Head over to Last Click News to see what this may mean for search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.

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