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Additional European languages will be added for captioning.

Google announced this week that it will be beefing up its live caption capability in Google Meet. This is the video calling service formerly known as Google Hangouts. Google is adding support for live captions in four new languages, according to the company.

The live caption feature takes advantage of Google’s artificial intelligence-based speech-to-text technology. This tech allows the platform to understand what’s being said and transcribe the words into text as live captions during a video call.

The feature is useful for people with hearing difficulties, or who are participating in a noisy environment. It is also useful for those who may not have high comprehension skills the language being spoken on the call.

Live captions are will be available in French, German, Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish (Spain and Latin America). This in addition to the existing English.

Caption tools serve multiple uses

Google Workspace Product Manager Phillip Nelson revealed the language additions in a blog post this week.

“We know from our work with teachers and parents over the years how essential caption tools can be for students with learning disabilities,” he said. The feature is also useful for English-language learners in both K-12 and higher education, he acknowledged.

“Professional development experts often encourage the integration of this technology to make lessons more accessible,” he added. This is especially critical in the time of COVID-19.

“We’ve heard from Meet users about how helpful it can be to not only see who is speaking and view their expressions, but also read the text of what they are saying. By expanding live captions to more languages, we can help more students feel empowered to participate, and help more teachers share a space that is both accessible and inclusive.”

“Raise your hand” – virtually

Nelson also unveiled a series of additional enhancements to make Google Meet better for larger meetings.

Participants can now indicate that they would like to speak by raising their hand. In large meetings, this helps to increase participation while not disrupting the flow of the conversation and helps to prevent people from interrupting one another.

Tip: Zoom vs Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams vs Webex Meetings vs BlueJeans