Google releases captioning app that transcribes Hangout chat.
Hangout Captions provides closed captioning of Google+ Hangout conversations, making the video conferencing service more user-friendly for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The latest feature to improve Google’s accessibility levels comes after the company started allowing users to add captions to videos uploaded to its social networking hub in May.
To use the app, users have to install Hangout Captions, then allow access to some of their Google+ account. The app doesn’t automatically provide live transcription, and those taking part in a hangout then have two options: they can either use a professional to create the transcription for them through StreamText, using either CART or palantype. Alternatively, a member of the Hangout can type the chat directly into the app. When in use, the text is visible in an IM-style sidebar.
Naomi Black, technical program manager for accessibility engineering wrote a post on Google+, introducing the service: “I have been working with ace Hangout developers Robert Pitt, Mohammad Eshbeata, and Brian Aldridge on a new app to make communication between deaf and hearing participants easier in your Google+ Hangouts.”
She also explained how the app works and asked users for feedback: “By adding the +Hangout Captions app, you can either connect live text from a professional transcriptionist to your Hangout, or type right into a text box yourself to transcribe a Hangout for your friends. Right now, we only support professional transcription through StreamText and our ‘do-it-yourself’ Basic Transcription. This is an early look at the app so you can tell us what you think.”