Google live captions provided real-time captioning for phones for quite some time, but now the feature is coming to the Chrome desktop. And, as is often the case with Chrome features, this means that it is possible to access the feature before the stable version. It is based on a recently spotted indicator parameter relating to the function.
There will be bugs, of course
Now, it should be noted that not all experimental features will work for everyone. Or at least they won’t work well for everyone. The functionality here – get subtitles specifically for the media being read in Chrome – is still in testing. Hence why it is experimental. So there will almost certainly be bugs for some and potentially destructive bugs for a small minority of users.
In fact, functionality on stable Chrome would be incredibly buggy to some by now. For example, it should be turned off and then back on if the media playback it is capturing is paused. And it also won’t work with YouTube on the stable channel at this time.
Chrome OS suffers from more bugs than other platforms. It won’t work at all in Android apps, for example, and the setting has to be looked up in the Settings app to turn it on and off. On other platforms, the setting adds a quick toggle to the media playback menu located on the right side of the Omnibox URL. But, for those who want access now, Google has made it a straightforward process.
Enable and access live captions in Google Chrome on desktops
As noted above, users will need to ensure that they are accessing this setting from a desktop platform. This of course includes laptops. But a Chromebook – or any variant of Chrome OS – or a PC, Mac, or Linux computer will be needed. In Chrome for desktop, from there, users will need to enter the URL “Chrome: // flags” and search for “Live Caption”.
After using the drop-down menu to select the “On” option instead of the “Default” option, Chrome will need to restart. In some cases, it will have to restart more than once.
For those who prefer to wait for a stable release, when ready, Live Subtitles for Desktop Chrome shouldn’t need any flag settings at all. The appearance of this flag and the less buggy nature of the Canary Islands version are promising. Namely, both seem to be hinting that finalization won’t take too long. Or at least not longer than anything other feature for Chrome which recently migrated between platforms.