Google just announced an interesting new service available for YouTube: automated captioning of uploaded videos. While that feature rolls out slowly through selected partners, there is also a cool “automatic caption timing” feature that enables a more manual – but still streamlined – captioning process. Simply upload a text file with a transcript of your video and Google’s speech recognition technology will figure out when those words are spoken and create captions based on this information. Pretty slick.
Beyond the obvious benefits to the hearing impaired, captioning supports a tactic that we use and advocate in many of our multimedia presentations. Offering captioning on marketing or training videos allows viewers to still get context even when the volume on their computer is low or muted – often the case in an office cubicle environment. Captioning also allows viewers to more completely understand technical details by seeing the “big words” on screen – reinforcing key points.
Check out the how-it-works video (you have to love that casual Google style “sometimes it works pretty good.”):
Seems like a great feature all around and something technology marketers can use to extend the value of their multimedia presentations. You can be sure I’ll be trying it pretty quickly.