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Closed Captioning Search Options

Thursday, June 05, 2008 6/05/2008 11:50:00 AM

Ken Harrenstien, Software Engineer

Those of you interested in closed captioning may have noticed a new feature on this front- the ability to search only for closed-captioned videos. Naturally this is very useful for people like myself who can't hear the audio, but of course there are many others who either want the sound off or who can understand the writing better than the speech.

If you go to the "Advanced Video Search" page you'll see a new constraint called "Subtitles: Search only closed captioned videos". Try clicking on that check-box and doing an otherwise normal search; the results will include those videos that are known to have captions. Fun example: to see a list of all captioned videos on Google Video, check that box and restrict the domain to "".

It's still not quite as sophisticated as we want it to be - it currently only knows about videos in Google Video, and doesn't yet allow you to specify a language of interest. Nevertheless it's another small step that we hope will encourage greater awareness and use of captions.

A related feature of interest that you may not have noticed is the ability to jump directly into a video at the point where captions of interest appear. If your search results include caption snippets, there will be a link called "Start playing at search term", which is extremely handy for long videos. In order to see it, you also have to select "List View" (the middle icon in the Results menu bar).

Here's a nice example - search for ["that's a tremendous gift"] . Make sure you've selected List View, and you should see a video featuring Randy Pausch. Clicking on the "Start playing at search term (50:16)" link will take you to a point slightly before the appearance of that caption.