The latest Chrome Canary beta finally brings Live Caption to the desktop

The Chrome browser
The Chrome browser (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Alongside expanding support for more Android devices, Google is also working to bring Live Caption to the desktop.
  • The latest Chrome Canary release includes an experimental flag to turn the feature on.
  • Live Caption automatically generates captions for any audio or video playing in the browser, even if subtitles aren't explicitly provided with the source file.

One of the most exciting new features to come out of Google's labs in the past few years is Live Caption. The feature uses Google's machine learning magic to automatically generate captions for any audio or video source on your phone — and, now, your desktop — even if subtitles aren't included in the source file. Even better, you don't even need an internet connection for it, as the processing is performed entirely on-device.

And nearly three months after the company engineers first revealed they were working on porting it over to Chrome, the feature is finally available in the desktop browser, albeit only in beta form.

As Techdows reports, Chrome Canary version 84.0.4136.2 now includes an experimental 'Live Captions' flag. The flag's description reads, "Enables the live captions feature which generates caption for media playing in Chrome."

Enabling the flag is as simple as navigating to "chrome://flags" via the URL bar and searching for it by name. Once you've enabled the flag, restart the browser, and then enter "chrome://settings/Accessibility" in the URL bar. You should now see the Live Captions option.

In our testing, while the text box for Live Captions does show up when playing videos, the feature is definitely a work in progress. Neither YouTube nor Vimeo videos were automatically transcribed. The same was true of podcasts and audio content, so it seems like we'll need to wait a bit before Live Caption works as expected on the desktop.

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