Google Chrome gets powerful ‘Live Transcribe’ accessibility feature for videos
Google Chrome just made it easier for users with hearing impairment to watch videos online, but you can also use it to watch videos while your speaker and earbuds are muted.
The modern web as we know it today helps users find the information they're looking for at work, or lets them wind down at the end of the day. While the web gained several improvements over the past couple of decades, it was only during recent years that companies began paying real attention to accessibility improvements for users who would benefit from them while browsing the web.
Read more: Starbucks app improves accessibility features for visually impaired users: Report
One of those recent improvements was Google's Live Transcribe, a fantastic Google-exclusive feature that arrived on the Pixels in 2019 and was then rolled out to a handful of devices like Samsung's Galaxy S and A series for eg. the Galaxy A71 and the Galaxy S20. This feature would let users' devices generate real-time audio captions for any media playing on your phone - but what was better was that it worked completely offline.
Although Live Transcribe for Android was a very nifty feature, the limited number of phones it could run on meant it could not be utilised by everyone who did not have the hardware to support the feature. Fortunately, Google has now introduced the same feature on its Chrome browser, according to XDA which first spotted the feature on Wednesday. Users who have updated to the latest version of Chrome can take advantage of the feature right away.
Also read: Chrome for Android now allows users to preview a page before opening the link
While Google's YouTube service has had a built-in closed captions feature that would generate captions for videos on-the-fly, they required users to be connected to the net for the transcription and only worked on the YouTube website and on YouTube video embeds. This Live Transcribe feature, on the other hand, will work on all videos played inside Chrome, as long as they are in English, at least for now.
If you're on version 89 of Chrome, you can go to the three-dot menu, then click Settings, then choose Advanced and then Accessibility. The first option at the top is called Live Transcribe, which you will need to toggle on. The settings entry says that Chrome will automatically create captions for English audio and video. Perhaps more importantly, the setting also mentions that the audio and the captions never leave your device, which means it works completely independent of the internet.
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