Google brings real-time closed captioning to Slides

Google on Monday will begin rolling out automated closed captioning to Google Slides for US English, a feature that will make presentations more accessible to audiences that are deaf or hard of hearing. The feature uses the microphone on a presenter’s computer to detect the spoken presentation and displays written captions on screen in real time. It works for a single user presenting in US English on a laptop or desktop computer, using the Chrome browser.

Google plans to expand the feature to more countries and languages eventually. Designing for accessibility is important, given that one in five people will have a disability in their lifetime, Google stressed at last year’s I/O conference. Still, as Patrick Clary, product manager on accessibility engineering, told ZDNet last year, accessibility features can improve a product for all audiences.

This new closed-captioning feature, for instance, could benefit audiences in a noisy location or in spaces with poor sound settings.

Google also noted Monday that closed captioning can help a presenter speaking a non-native language or who has trouble projecting their voice.

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