YouTube Live gains automatic captions, chat replay and more

YouTube today announced several new features designed to improve the live streaming experience for both creators and viewers. The most notable additions include the ability to play back a live chat after the live stream ends, and the launch of live automatic captions on videos.

YouTube began offering automatic captioning back in 2009, and has since added captions to a billion videos, the company says. Live captioning a video in real-time is a bit more complicated, but advancements in speech recognition technology are making features like this possible. (Similarly, a new startup launched an app called Otter today, that live transcribes meeting and conversations – also thanks to advancements in voice technologies.)

YouTube says it’s leveraging its live automatic speech recognition (LASR) technology to serve captions on live streams when professionally provided captions aren’t available. LASR-powered captions won’t be perfect but the error rates and latency are close to industry standards, YouTube claims.┬áThe addition makes YouTube one of the first major video platforms to offer live captioning.

The feature will roll out to YouTube Live in the weeks ahead. Following the launch, the company will continue to work on improving the latency and accuracy of the captions.


Also new is the option to play back a live chat when a video wraps, which will give you the feeling of watching a live stream, even if the stream has ended.

YouTube creators can now add a location tag to their mobile live streams and video uploads, starting today. When clicked, viewers will be able to explore other videos recorded at that same location. The feature seems a response to other live streaming service, like Twitter’s Periscope, as well as social networks like Facebook and Instagram, which allow users to surface videos by location.

A location filter is available on the search results page, too, YouTube says.


The Super Chat feature, which lets fans buy attention by getting their message highlighted in a chat stream, now works with IFTTT. The idea here is to better automate the feature that allows a Super Chat to trigger a real-world event, like lights, a pet feeder, or a confetti cannon. With IFTTT support, there are over 600 internet-connected devices and services that can work with Super Chat.

The Super Chat feature itself is currently available on Android and desktop, and is launching on iOS today.