Thursday, November 19, 2009

YouTube Captioning

New Google technology will generate captions on YouTube videos automatically. The search giant and owner of YouTube showed off new feature today that will automatically bring text captions to many videos on the site by the end of the week. The speech recognition technology gives users the choice of reading the captions in 51 languages, although it will only work with English language videos at first. Ken Harrenstien, a deaf engineer helped develop the automatic captioning system. The technology will first be used with educational content from schools like Stanford, Yale, and MIT, then PBS and Google's own corporate videos. The reason the technology is being rolled out slowly is that the softward is not perfect and the Google team wants to improve it through user feedback.

There are already several hundred thousand videos on YouTube with closed captions, most of which come from broadcast networks that include them in their programs. Some other online video sites like Hulu also have some professionally created videos with closed captioning.

People uploading video to YouTube will also have the option of uploading a text file of the words spoken in the video. Google will turn the text file into captions to match the written words with the video. The captions will make it easier for anyone to search text inside videos and find specific snippets within a video.