The New York Times today reports that
In the first major step toward making millions of videos on YouTube accessible to deaf and hearing-impaired people, Google unveiled new technologies on Thursday that will automatically bring text captions to many videos on the site.
According to the article, Google’s speech recognition technology, already used in applications such as its voice-to-text phone message service, initially will be applied to largely educational video channels on the YouTube, such as PBS, National Geographic and university stations. Another version of it will be available to regular users, giving them the option of having YouTube caption their videos for them, auto-generating transcripts from the audio.
While aimed at making online videos more accessible to the aurally-challenged, the technology will also be a revelation for the rest of us who want to bask ever more thoroughly in the glow of humanity’s radiant stupidity. Did she just say, “could be a crack head that got hold to the wrong stuff”? Let’s go to the transcript for confirmation. (Yes. I am getting word that, yes, that is what she said.)
Furthermore, imagine the far out search implications. Forget hoping someone’s typed out and time-logged choice quotes from the latest Family Guy (06:24: “I did some poos, I did some poos, I didn’t mean to.”), or straining to recall in which chapter R. Kelly sings “I thought your name was Mary/ That’s what you said at the party/ Man, this is getting scary/ I’m gonna shoot somebody.” Uploaded videos will be automatically tagged with text files, unleashing a deluge of previously untap-able search reserves. It’s the web’s next logical step, really.
And you thought you spent a lot of time on the computer now.