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YouTube launches CaptionTube: A caption editor

The Google video site gets a browser-based tool that enables users to write captions for videos they've uploaded to the service. No third-party software necessary.

YouTube on Thursday released a new Web-based application called CaptionTube that lets users add text captions to their videos.

The video service has had support for captioning in its videos since August of last year, but until now, you've been stuck having to do it with time codes and captions uploaded as a separate .sub file. This new system, which will be a part of YouTube's TestTube labs section, lets you add captions right in your browser using a time line-based system that looks and feels like a video editor.

The tool lets you grab one of your videos from your YouTube upload section or from its public-interface URL. You can then start adding captions in a similar fashion to YouTube's on-screen annotation editor, selecting how long you want each caption to appear by picking specific beginning and end points. You can also create and edit multiple languages of captions at the same time, which show up as separate tracks in the time line.

CaptionTube lets you add captions to your videos right inside of your browser. Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

What's really interesting here is that when you're done adding subtitles, you can export your work out of the editor to use elsewhere. It exports your captions as a .sub file that can be worked on in a separate text editor or sent out with the source video to be viewed locally with the captions in something like the VLC player.

More importantly, this could signal that YouTube is indeed at work on a Web-based video editor that would let users edit their clips in the browser instead of relying on third-party software. The company has long encouraged users to simply edit their videos before uploading, but between this new editor and the service's AudioSwap feature, the one thing that's missing is the option to make cuts and rearrange what's already been uploaded.

Videos on how to use the tool are embedded after the jump.