Google’s popular Chrome browser for desktop has recently gained the ability to generate real-time captions for video and audio content played within the browser, even with the sound muted.
Enter Live Caption
While YouTube already offers similar auto-transcription capabilities, Chrome’s new feature called “Live Caption” will work for any video (not just YouTube), as well as podcasts, video calls, or any audio/video file you might have stored on your local hard drive.
The new Live Caption is now available on all PCs and Macs, as well as Chromebooks. At launch, Live Caption only supports English, but Google will hopefully add support for other languages in the near future.
Chrome’s latest addition is a handy feature for anyone who finds themselves listening to audio/video in a noisy environment or who simply isn’t a native English speaker.
Do you think Chrome’s new feature might help you boost your productivity? Then follow us in this guide as we demonstrate how you can take advantage of Live Caption on your own desktop computer.
How to Enable Live Caption in Chrome for Desktop
Before we can get down to business, you’ll have to make sure your Chrome browser is up to date. You need to have Chrome 89 (or higher) for the new feature to work. Quickly check if this is the case by following these steps.
1. Open the Chrome browser on your PC.
2. Click on the three-dot menu located in the top-right corner of your screen.
3. Go to Help and then select “About Google Chrome.”
4. If there’s any update available, install it. If Chrome is already on version 89 or above, you’re good to go.
With the latest Chrome version on board, you can now proceed to enable the new Live Caption feature.
1. Remain in the same window and check the left side of the display. Click on Advanced. Aternatively, you can select the three-dot menu again and select “Settings -> Advanced.”
2. Select Accessibility from the drop-down menu.
3. You will find the Live Caption option at the top. Toggle it on and wait until the browser downloads all the speech recognition files it needs to start live captioning.
4. Once the process is completed, you are all set to start using the feature.
How to Use Chrome’s Live Caption on Your PC
1. On your PC, open a video in the Chrome browser.
2. Click the play button, and a small black box should appear on the screen with the captions.
3. You can reposition the window on your screen by long-clicking on it and dragging it away.
Just keep in mind that at this point, the feature’s speech recognition capabilities are by no means perfect. We’ve noticed some incongruities in all the videos we’ve watched with Live Caption on. Hopefully, Google will continue to work on the feature to improve its precision.
Now, whenever a video is playing in your browser look, for the media controls (musical note icon) in the upper-right corner of the display (next to your profile picture).
Click on them to easily turn on/off Live Caption. For example, if you’ve switched to watching a video in a different language (other than English), the Live Caption box will only distract your attention, so you can go ahead and turn it off. When you move to the next video, the captions will still be off, but you can turn them back on just as quickly via the media controls.
Live caption is also available on select Android phones including the Pixel lineup. If you’re the owner of a Google-branded phone, then you may want to learn how to turn on the feature on your device. Alternatively, check out how you can view subtitles on YouTube.