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Auto-captioning YouTube

I somehow missed the news that YouTube is now automatically captioning all videos in English. That's awesome news for the accessibility crowd. It's a little problematic for the content industry.

Think about it. There's about 20 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. For every one of them, Google's now generating text. This text is not created on the fly as the video is played back; it's presumably built as part of each video's preprocessing and is made part of the video's metatext. Which means it's being indexed, which means that the videos are now competing directly with more traditional textual information.

It's true that the Google voice-to-text technology is not exactly accurate. (My Google Voice transcripts are generally pretty incomprehensible.) But this is all the more reason that serious content competitors need to be looking more than ever at using YouTube to protect their brands.

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