Generate live captions for any streaming video or audio file using Chrome’s desktop app “Gadget Hacks

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Closed captions are great for capturing every important word and sound in a movie or TV show, but now there is a way to Google chromefrom the desktop browser to enjoy subtitles from any audio file or source. You can make sure that you never misunderstand a comment during an online meeting, and you can even follow a song’s lyrics on platforms that don’t already have lyrics synced, such as SoundCloud.

Anything you can watch or listen to in Chrome is fair play.

Google’s “Live Capture” feature was previously only available on its Pixels with Android 10 and has since made its way to other reputable Android smartphones, but “Live Capture” for desktop use has just been dropped as a server-side update on March 18 to stable versions of Chome 89.

The feature uses machine learning to provide real-time captions for any audio source in English, and it does not require any audio input to operate. This means that you can use Live Caption with headphones or with your computer completely turned off.

If you have an unsupported iPad, iPhone, or Android device, you won’t find any hidden captioning features in your OS or Chrome browser. So you will have to keep your lifestyle filled with subtitles on your Mac, PC, Pixels, Samsung galaxy s20, S21, Oneplus 8, 8T, North, and other supported Android devices at the moment.

Configuring Live Caption in Desktop Chrome

First, click on the vertical ellipses in your menu bar, then choose “Settings.” Then click on “Advanced”, then select “Accessibility”. Alternatively, you can go directly to chrome: // settings / accessibility in your omnibox. Here you should find “Live Caption” as the first option on the page. Just activate the toggle to get started.

Using Live Closed Captions in Desktop Chrome

The next time you play an audio source in English, you will see a live subtitle box appear on the screen. Live Caption will do its best to keep up with whatever is said in your audio source, whether it’s a podcast, song, movie, or lecture. At this point, it won’t be perfect and may even crash occasionally.

So if a video, podcast, or other media format has closed captioning options built in, you should use it for more accurate transcriptions. Many YouTube videos have the option, as do most other video streaming services. But Live Caption is the best solution for YouTube videos without a “CC” button, platforms without subtitles (like SoundCloud), podcasts, etc.

If you want to maximize the window to see more captions at a time, you can click the arrow at the bottom of the Live Caption window. Clicking this arrow again will return the window to its original collapsed form. You can also click and drag to reposition the window if necessary.

Turn off live captions in Chrome for desktop

If you like Live Caption but don’t always need it, there are a few ways to turn it off temporarily. First, you can just click the (x) in the Live Caption window. This will disable Live Caption for your current audio source. However, the next time you open an audio source, you will see Live Caption appear again.

To turn off live captions for all audio sources, you need to click on the play icon in Chrome’s toolbar, which should be next to any extensions you have installed, if any. Below the playback controls, you’ll see a toggle for Live Caption. Disable this toggle and Live Caption will not activate on any future audio source until you reenable it.

Of course, you can always deactivate Live Caption permanently by re-activating the switch in chrome: // settings / accessibility. That said, if you think you want to use Live Caption in the future, turning it off from the playback window is a much more convenient choice.

Good to know: Live captions do not work in Zoom. You can initiate a Zoom call from Chrome’s browser, but it will still open in the Zoom app on your computer. Other chat platforms such as Skype and Google meet already have built-in captioning tools that you can activate. However, you may be able to use it on Soft calls in Chrome and other audio and video messaging services.

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Cover images and GIFs by Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks


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