Google has begun expanding its real-time caption feature, Live Captions, to all users of Chrome browser across all devices. Live Captions, which was initially available on Pixel phones only, uses machine learning to randomly create captions for videos or audio clips where non existed before. This is meant to make the web much more accessible for any user with hearing impairments.
Once activated, Live Captions spontaneously appears in a small box at the bottom that is actually moveable to any side of the screen. Since it is all automatic, the captions do take a second before appearing so you might spot mistakes when listening to fast or stuttering speech.
Generally, the feature has proven to be impressive since it first appeared on Pixel smartphones back in 2019. Even with muted audio or low volume, the captions still get to appear. This makes it a way to rather “read” videos or podcasts without disturbing others around you.
The feature currently works on various sites including YouTube, Twitch, SoundCloud and other podcast players. However, it seems that Live Captions in Chrome only work in English, both on desktop and mobile.
To enable Live Captions, go to Settings > Advanced > Accessibility. If you aren’t able to see the feature, try manually updating the browser then restarting it. When you switch the toggle, Chrome will instantly download a bunch of speech recognition files that helps it generate the captions.