The latest version of Google's Chrome browser features a handy new function that automatically generates captions for audio and video content in English. It's an extension of the firm's Live Captions technology, presented almost two years ago at the Google I/O conference. The function works for podcasts and recorded videos, as well as for livestreams.
To switch on the function in the latest version of the Chrome browser, go to "Settings" then "Advanced" then "Accessibility" and turn on "Live Captions." You should then start to see subtitles being generated automatically, no matter what audio or video platform you're using. Note that the function is currently only available in English, although other languages could soon be added. It could prove a useful boost in accessibility for users who are deaf or hard of hearing, or for anyone who wants to improve their English.
When you start playing a video or a podcast in the browser, captions appear instantly in a dedicated window at the bottom of the screen. The function can be easily switched on and off at any time.
Note that this option was first rolled out on mobile, via Google's Pixel smartphones, then progressively to selected models from Samsung and onePlus. Now, the broad reach of Google Chrome will bring the function to a wide range of users with all kinds of devices.
Anyone not using Chrome can nevertheless already enjoy this technology -- in several languages -- on most Google platforms, such as YouTube and Meet.