More Than 1 Billion YouTube Videos Have Automated Captions

YouTube users watch more than 15 million videos with automated captions each day

Caption this: YouTube announced Thursday that its automated captions have been used on more than 1 billion videos, and its users watch more than 15 million videos with automated captions per day.

Product manager Liat Kaver made the announcement in a blog post, saying that Google launched captions for videos in September 2006, and the process was automated for YouTube videos a little over three years later, in November 2009.

Kaver discussed steps YouTube and Google have taken to ensure that captions are accurate, as well as future goals, in her blog post, sharing the images below of captioning via YouTube previous and current models, respectively:

A major goal for the team has been improving the accuracy of automatic captions—something that is not easy to do for a platform of YouTube’s size and diversity of content. Key to the success of this endeavor was improving our speech recognition, machine learning algorithms and expanding our training data. All together, those technological efforts have resulted in a 50 percent leap in accuracy for automatic captions in English, which is getting us closer and closer to human transcription error rates.

Continuing to improve the accuracy of captions remains an important goal going forward, as does the need to keep growing beyond 1 billion automatic captions. We also want to extend that work to all of our 10 supported languages. But we can’t do it alone. We count on the amazing YouTube community of creators and viewers everywhere. Ideally, every video would have an automatic caption track generated by our system and then reviewed and edited by the creator. With the improvements we’ve made to the automated speech recognition, this is now easier than ever.

Readers: What have your experiences been like with captions on YouTube videos?