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Google summer intern devises new way to edit YouTube captions

During his summer stint, intern Rio Akasaka worked out a method for editing YouTube video captions online.

How did one Google intern spend his summer? Cooking up a new feature for YouTube users.

In a "Diary of a Summer Intern" blog posted yesterday, Rio Akasaka described the feature for editing video captions. Instead of creating a brand new caption for your YouTube videos, you can now simply change the existing caption online.

As an intern, Akasaka had help from a mentor, but he apparently played a leading role in designing the new feature. And as an associate product manager, he was responsible in large part for the project's outcome.

"My project required me to work with user experience designers to craft an intuitive workflow, coordinate efforts to ensure that engineering goes smoothly, and test the end features to make sure they work for users," explained Akasaka, who worked in Google's Tokyo offices. "To me, it felt like trying to be a concert conductor in a noisy field."

And with the summer not yet over, the work continues. Akasaka said that he still has to monitor feedback from users and check logs to make sure people are using the new caption-editing feature.

"A week ago, I traveled to YouTube's San Bruno headquarters to meet with the team -- including those who work on YouTube player and the folks that help video creators manage their library," he added. "When you handle 72 hours of video uploaded every minute and 4 billion hours of video watched by users per month, there's a significant impact that a single improvement can have, and lots of priorities to juggle."

In a June 28 blog post, Akasaka described how he was already diving into the YouTube caption feature just three weeks into his assignment.

The intern also participated in the company's GoogleServe, an initiative that allows Google workers to take time off for volunteer work. Akasaka said he traveled to northern Japan to help people still struggling to recover from last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

You can learn how other Google interns have spent their summer by reading the Google Student Blog.