About a month ago, I got hands-on with the Chrome browser’s Live Captions feature via a developer flag by the same name and I have to say, it’s a pretty awesome feature. For those who are unaware, the browser will utilize machine learning and AI in order to automatically generate captions for live audio. It could be enabled via the Global Media controls button at the top right of Chrome. Today, Google has officially launched the feature to the world, and they’ve even put out a short video teaching you how to enable it!
The feature first made its debut on Pixel phones back in 2019 and quickly became a new staple in accessibility tools onboard the Android operating system. Shortly thereafter, it came to smart displays with Google Assistant built-in. I’m glad to finally see it on the most utilized piece of software Google has – the browser.
Now, if your environment is too noisy or if you’re just trying to keep from contributing to the noise with loud audio of your own, you can enable Live Caption in order to have video conversations, podcasts, and more transcribed to the screen. As I previously stated though, this feature is primarily intended to make the browser more accessible, so those who are deaf or hard of hearing can now follow along with content much easier and make better use of the browser and all of its incredible power to connect people to each other. Sure, we could all enable closed captioning on Youtube videos and Netflix movies up until now, but many things simply don’t have captions built-in – Live Caption finally solves that problem.
Google says that captions are generated on your device and no data related to them leaves your computer (read: Google isn’t combing it!) What’s really awesome is that this even works offline, so you can caption audio and video files saved in your local storage if you open them to play in the Chrome browser. I’ve been playing with Live Caption for a bit now, and I have to admit – it’s not perfect. With that said, it’s pretty darn good, and it’s likely to get even better as it matures since Google has a massive focus and love for accessibility tools. Check out the video below to see how to turn the feature on via the Browser’s settings, and enjoy!