23 June 2021
After debuting the Live Captions feature on Pixel smartphones in 2019, Google has now expanded the functionality to Chrome web browser. It means you can now utilize this functionality on almost any device as long as you are browsing the internet via Chrome. The feature works exactly the same way as it was introduced on smartphones a couple of years ago.
Google Chrome's Live Captions ability is disabled by default. The first step is to enable it by visiting Chrome settings > Advanced > Accessibility and then turn on the toggle for Live Captions. It should be noted that the feature currently works only with the English language with no words on when more languages will be added.
The next step is to play any content like a YouTube video or a podcast that has English audio. The algorithms will automatically start working and will start showing you captions for the audio in real-time. Since these are auto-generated captions, there is always a chance of some words getting detected wrong. It can happen in situations where the speaker is speaking too fast or there is a stutter. For example, you can notice below that the AI has transcribed "plan C" as "planned C".
The live captions in a small overlayed floating window that can be moved around. And yes, you can also increase the window size to read more in one go. This will help users place it wherever they want to so that it does not obstruct anything else. Lastly, do keep in mind that while all the AI processing is happening in real-time, there is a slight delay between the said words and captions' appearance which is self-explanatory.