Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
Engadget for the iPhone: download the app now
AOL Tech

Google introduces machine-generated captions for YouTube videos

Google has given users the ability to caption their YouTube videos for a while now. But that can be a cumbersome, time-intensive process and most of the millions of videos hosted on YouTube are uncaptioned. That could change soon, as Google is beginning to roll out a new automatic captioning system that will analyze speech in videos and create machine-generated captions.

This means that users who are hard of hearing will have an easier time using YouTube. And because Google can translate text into 51 different languages, it means that you'll have a much easier time understanding those German and Japanese videos you're so fond of watching.

The technology for the machine-based captions is the same as the tech that allows Google Voice to automatically transcribe your voicemail messages and send them to you as emails. That is to say, it's not perfect, and we can expect to see a fair number of mistakes in YouTube captions for the foreseeable future. But this is an excellent start at making web video significantly more accessible.

Automatic captions are only available on a handful of YouTube channels right now, including Google, YouTube, PBS, National Geographic, MIT, and UCLA. A wider release is scheduled soon, with auto-caps expected on English videos by the end of the week.

Tags: automatic captions, AutomaticCaptions, captions, online video, OnlineVideo, youtube