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YouTube has auto-captioned a billion videos (yes, billion)

The automatic subtitles make videos more accessible for people with hearing impairments and anyone trying to stealthily watch a clip during church.


Google launched video captions in 2006 and automated them three years later.


YouTube, the biggest video site on the planet, deals a lot in big numbers, so its latest milestone is no exception.

Thursday, the Google-owned video service said it has automatically captioned 1 billion videos.

Captions, subtitles on clips that transcribe dialogue and note other audio clues occurring on screen, are a technology that makes videos more accessible for those with hearing impairments, which the World Health Organization estimates is more than 300 million people worldwide.

But as silent autoplaying videos become a norm alongside the rise of mobile viewing, the tool has widened in use to anyone watching a clip in a quiet place where sudden piercing loudness might be frowned upon (i.e. church, class lectures, your next all-hands work meeting -- not that I know from personal experience).

Google first launched video captions back in 2006 and automated them three years later. In addition to the 1 billion milestone, the company said people watch video with automatic captions more than 15 million times per day.

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