Live Captions is an accessibility feature by Google that gives your device the ability to transcribe the media being played in real-time. This could be used to transcribe videos, recorded media, audio playback, podcasts, streaming services, and more.
Google’s recent update to Chrome Canary enables Live Captions on desktop browsers, an extremely beneficial feature for users with hearing impairments that might find it difficult to consume media without subtitles or proper transcription.
Enable Chrome Live Captions through Media Control Panel
Previously, if you wanted to enable Live Captions, you would first need to toggle a Chrome flag and then head to accessibility settings to turn it on. This is a hassle if you want to turn it off in the middle of watching a video or one that already has subtitles. Google Chrome has now made it simpler to enable Live Captions. It has baked a toggle to enable this feature into the Global Media Controls hub, which is really handy.
Google Chrome gained the ‘Global Media Controls’ feature that lets you easily control playback from any tab, without having to switch back to the source. Chrome has also added support for Live Captions, an accessibility feature that lets you add captions to any video on the Internet.
First, make sure you’re on the latest version whether you use Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, or any other desktop OS. Google’s new Live Captions are available on Google Chrome browser version 89 and above only.
- Visit any website that has audio or videos and play it.
- Once the video or audio starts playing, you’ll see the media control button on the Chrome toolbar.
- Click on the media control button. It looks like this: and you can find it in the Chrome tool bar right next to the extensions.
- Turn on the toggle at the bottom of the media controls titled Live Captions (English only).
Enable Chrome Live Captions from Settings
You can also enable Chrome Live Captions globally from the settings as well/
- Go to Chrome Settings.
- Click on Advanced.
- Then, click on Accessibility.
- Then enable the Live captions toggle.
Once turned on, Chrome will download the speech recognition data. When that’s done, you’ll begin to see auto-generated English subtitles for the audio or video being played. Sometimes, you may have to reload the web page after the download for the subtitles to appear.
Since the speech recognition data is downloaded, the transcripts are not required to be sent to Google servers, a good thing if you’re concerned about privacy.
The Live Captions window can be expanded to see more by clicking on the downward cart icon at the bottom of the window. You can even get the feature on Spotify or any other music streaming site as well. Play a podcast and turn on live captions to read the podcast content. Chrome live captions will appear only on the respective web page.
Live Captions are currently being tested by Google and are in the beta phase, to say the least. They are not compatible with most of the services being used by users around the world and have significant bugs that can cause your system or browser to crash.
Moreover, as Live Captions are still in the testing phase, many transcriptions might not be correct, which can seriously hinder the experience for you if you are solely relying on them to consume your media.
How to turn off Live Captions on Chrome
You can either disable the flag itself to completely remove the feature. However, if you want to disable it temporarily disable it, then simply turn it off under Settings > Advanced > Accessibility.
Step 1: Click on the ‘Menu’ icon in the top right corner of your browser and select ‘Settings’.
Note: You can also type ‘chrome://settings’ in the URL bar to access the ‘Settings’ page.
Step 2: Once you are on the settings page, click on ‘Advanced’ in the left sidebar of your screen and select ‘Accessibility’.
Step 3: Now toggle off ‘Live Captions’ to turn off Live Captions for your browser.
How to completely remove Live Captions from Chrome
Step 1: First, turn the Live Captions feature off, as illustrated above. Once you are done, type ‘chrome://flags’ in your browser’s URL bar and hit enter.
Step 2: Find ‘Live Captions’ under the ‘Available’ tab, click on the drop-down menu beside it, and select ‘Disable’. You can also select ‘Default’ to make sure that when Google enables it by default when it’s ready, you get to use it when that happens.
Step 3: Click the ‘Relaunch’ button to restart the browser.
Live Captions will now be completely disabled for your browser.
Things to note
- Chrome Flags are extremely experimental features that can cause a lot of bugs and issues. They might even lead to your browser crashing and even your system. If you encounter any such issues, then you can start off resetting all your flags. Follow this guide, which should help you reset all your flags. If the problem persists, then you should try disabling Live Captions and other enabled flags altogether.
- Live Captions is an experimental feature in browsers currently. It is not 100% accurate and the transcriptions are not accurate all the time. You shouldn’t rely on them entirely until Google releases an official stable version with a stable build of Google Chrome.
- This rounds off the instructions on how to activate and deactivate Chrome Live subtitles. Likewise, we’ve also listed the steps to customize these captions to suit your needs.
- This is a very handy feature, which still needs to be completely polished, as it seems to work and only supports the English language for now. If you search forwards or backwards on a video, all the subtitles will be distorted and create random lines.
- We hope this guide helped you make the most out of Google’s new addition to its Chrome browser, the Live Captions.