Microsoft is testing one of Android’s best accessibility features in Windows 11

Windows 11 Live Captions

TL;DR

  • Microsoft is testing Live Captions functionality in Windows 11 preview builds.
  • This is mostly identical to Google’s own Live Caption feature in Android.
  • This generates captions on-device for any content with audio.

Google introduced Live Caption functionality to Android back in 2019, allowing users to get locally generated captions for any video and audio content. This extended to recorded videos, podcasts, and more.

Now, Microsoft has announced (h/t: Liliputing) that a new Windows 11 Insider preview build (version 22557) comes with a so-called Live Captions feature as well. This can be activated by pressing Windows+Ctrl+L.

How does it actually work?

Microsoft says Live Captions are automatically created on-device for any content with audio. You’ll only need to download the speech model upon enabling the feature for the first time (US English is the only language supported right now). In other words, it certainly seems like the feature will work offline too.

Live Captions can be shown at the top or bottom of a screen, or in a floating window. Users can also tweak the size and appearance of the captions.

Otherwise, this preview build also comes with features like a Focus Mode, folders in the pinned apps area of the start menu, and the ability to see your OneDrive usage in the file explorer.

The Windows maker recently said that some features tested in preview builds wouldn’t actually come to stable releases. But we do hope that Live Captions in particular come to stable Windows 11, as it’s an invaluable tool for the hearing-impaired and can be pretty convenient for others too.

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