YouTube Solves Accessibility Problems in Video

No Comments » Written on November 20th, 2009 by
Categories: Google, Video, YouTube

There is no debate that web video has revolutionized the way in which web site visitors have consumed information. The problem is that videos are not natively accessible. This has left the hearing and vision impaired public largely out of this revolution.

While Google has offered a captioning service for videos uploaded to YouTube for a few years now, it still required video owners to add the captioning tracks manually. As a result the majority of videos on YouTube don’t have them and they are therefore inaccessible.

Yesterday, Google announced a new automatic captioning service for YouTube. Google is using their speech recognition software to allow video owners to automatically add video captions to their videos. This new service works by having the video owner upload a text file of the speech in their video. Google’s speech recognition software matches the text to the audio track and outputs the caption to the video. Since speechrecognition technology is still evolving Google is rolling out this service to a select few partners first. National Geographic and PBS are two that will test this new feature on their YouTube channels.

This new feature should significantly lower the barrier for video owners to add captions to their videos and allow a large segment of the Internet public to make use of those videos. If that weren’t reason enough, it will also improve the search rankings for videos that include captions.