Sunday, October 01, 2006

Google Video offers Closed Caption playback

[UPDATE 31 Dec 06: I've since learned that "Hearing Impaired" is not a preferred term. I should use "Deaf" or "Hard of Hearing". Thanks.]

[Also posted at]

Learnt via the Official Google Video Blog about this new feature:
By now, you may have noticed that we've just introduced a small but significant new feature that many of us have long awaited: playback of captions and subtitles! If you haven't tried it yet, you can go to this page, select a captioned video, and while playing it you can click on the [CC] symbol to turn captions on and off.

What's Closed Captioning? Try this page for an explanation.

The Closed Captioning feature in Google Video will be a boon to those who are Deaf or Hearing Impaired Hard of Hearing, especially when services like Google Video and other similar video-sharing platforms are gaining popularity. To appreciate why features like Closed Captioning are important to a person with hearing-impairment who is deaf, try this experiment:

0) IMPORTANT - First, set your computer volume to zero.

1) OK, let's say you are hearing impaired Deaf. You are interested in learning about Fractals. You've found this video (30secs). Go ahead and play the video. Suppose there was a narrative in the video. You wouldn't have known, would you? (Incidentally, that particular video doesn't have any narrative or music. I'm using it for illustrative purposes only).

2) Next, view a similar video on Fractals, this time with Closed Captions (continue to keep your computer volume at zero). NOTE: Click the "CC" button if you do not see subtitles in the video. Did you get more out of this video that the first one?

3) Finally, you can turn your computer volume control up to view the second video again. I think the Closed Caption is useful for people who can hear, don't you think?

Ken Harrenstien (who authored that Google Video post) says their Closed Captioning feature is still far from perfected. I feel it's a start, so it's all good. Ken concludes his post:
And you, too, can help! Please do send us your comments, bug reports, or suggestions; whether or not you think they're new, your collective feedback will be invaluable in helping us promote these capabilities and guide our decisions on which features need to be done next.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:51 am

    Read SWAP by Sam Moffie and get a different perspective on the hearing impaired.


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