I envision a future where everything will be captioned, so the more than 300 million people who are deaf or hard of hearing like me will be able to enjoy videos like everyone else. When I was growing up in Costa Rica, there were no closed captions in my first language, and only English movies had Spanish subtitles. I felt I was missing out because I often had to guess at what was happening on the screen or make up my own version of the story in my head. That was where the dream of a system that could just automatically generate high quality captions for any video was born.

Today I am lucky to be making my dream a reality as part of a team at YouTube exploring innovative ways to make captions more available for everyone. Over the years we have made great strides both in terms of the numbers of videos with captions and also in the accuracy of those captions.

Google first launched video captions back in 2006. Three years later these efforts were taken to a whole new level with automated captions on YouTube. This was a big leap forward to help us keep up with YouTube’s growing scale. Fast forward to today, and the number of videos with automatic captions now exceeds a staggering 1 billion. Moreover, people watch video with automatic captions more than 15 million times per day.

One of the ways that we were able to scale the availability of captions was by combining Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology with the YouTube caption system to offer automatic captions for videos. There were limitations with the technology that underscored the need to improve the captions themselves. Results were sometimes less than perfect, prompting some creators to have a little fun at our expense!

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.


Automatic captions example from our previous model

Automatic captions example from our current model



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 ten 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.

I know from firsthand experience that if you build with accessibility as a guiding force, you make technology work for everyone.

Liat Kaver, product manager, recently watched "27 Things You Might Not Know about Star Wars - mental_floss List Show Ep. 450" with automatic caption track.



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Since launching two years ago, YouTube Kids has grown up a lot and become a go-to destination for families around the world. With over 30 billion views in the app to date and over 8 million active viewers enjoying the app each week, it’s been exciting to see kids fall in love with the storytelling and videos from our amazing global creators. From DIY tutorials and language learning to science experiments, magic tricks and animated shows, there truly is something for every family to explore!

Our Original Content team under Susanne Daniels is adding four new Original series to YouTube Red, created especially with the YouTube Kids app in mind. These new series will feature top creators: DanTDM , Joe and Cody of TheAtlanticCraft, popular tween music act L2M, and Fruit Ninja. This marks the first time YouTube Red has invested in creators who are producing original programming for family audiences. These series will debut starting in the spring. Additional shows are in development and will premiere throughout 2017.

The first of the new original series launching starting this spring include:

  • Hyperlinked: This series is inspired by a true story and stars music sensation L2M. It follows five girls as they come together to create their own website by girls for girls. They also must navigate everyday tween issues involving friends and relationships.
  • DanTDM Creates A Big Scene: Catch DanTDM and his lively group of animated friends as they battle mayhem and misadventure to keep their brand new live show on the road. Each episode follows their behind-the-scenes exploits as they learn new skills, overcome challenges and find that putting on an epic show isn’t quite as easy as it looks. …
  • The Kings of Atlantis: “The Kings of Atlantis” is an epic animated series that follows two young monarchs —Cody and Joe— in the vast underwater city of Atlantis as they seek to overthrow the brutal usurper of their kingdom, reclaim their birthright, and protect their people from his cruel reign.
  • Fruit Ninja: Frenzy Force: Four Fruit Ninjas set up a juice stand as a front for the messiest secret service in the world. The new Fruit Ninja characters—Seb, Niya, Peng and Ralph—come together to fight the evil forces of Durian Grey and the Deep Fried Sensei. They will use their Juice Jitsu skills (and perhaps some help from their own Sensei) to prevail.






But the fun doesn’t stop there ... YouTube Kids is coming soon to Smart TVs. Parents and kids often enjoy watching their favorite family programming on a big screen, so it's a natural next step for the app to be available directly from the big screen in your home! The YouTube Kids app will be available soon for download on a number of internet-connected LG and Samsung Smart TVs.

As kids continue to grow up, we’re excited to grow up with them. It’s important that kids are able to explore what they love in the app, while we also continue to put parents in the driver’s seat to choose what is right for their family.

From engaging new shows to being able to watch in your living room, our 2nd birthday is shaping up to be a memorable one. We’re looking forward to all the other new things 2017 will bring. From our screen to yours. ...

Malik Ducard, YouTube’s Global Head of Family and Learning, recently watched “A Pep Talk from Kid President



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A huge focus for us here at YouTube is to find new ways to let creators and viewers interact with each other and the videos they watch. And that's why we’ve supported live streaming since, well, before Beyoncé even had a baby – way back in 2011! And in 2016, we witnessed the most-viewed political live streams of all time – the 2016 U.S. presidential debates – and we launched the world’s first 360-degree live streaming support with full 4K video, at scale and for free.

So what’s next? The roll out of our new mobile live streaming feature to every creator with more than 10,000 subscribers (the rest of you will have it soon!). It’s a launch that’ll put the power of live streaming in the hands of hundreds of thousands of talented creators, giving them a more intimate and spontaneous way to share their thoughts, lives, and creativity.



Mobile live streaming has been built directly into the YouTube mobile app. All you have to do to start streaming is open YouTube, hit the capture button, and you’re live! Streamed videos will have all the same features as regular YouTube videos. They can be searched for, found via recommendations or playlists, and protected from unauthorized use. Our mobile live streaming uses YouTube’s rock-solid infrastructure, meaning it’ll be fast and reliable, just the YouTube you know and love. And we’ve been working hand-in-hand with hundreds of creators to refine the mobile streaming experience while they stream from a boat or take live calls from their fans. Based on their feedback, we did things like slowing down live chat (it turns out receiving 2,000 messages per second is a little too fast!) and pushing for better streaming quality across devices.

Show me the money

To help creators earn revenue from live streaming, we’re also excited to launch Super Chat, a new live stream monetization tool available to creators in more than 20 countries (and viewers in more than 40 countries). Super Chat is like paying for that front-row seat in the digital age: it lets any fan watching a live stream stand out from the crowd and get a creator’s attention by purchasing chat messages that are highlighted in bright colors and stay pinned to the top of the chat window for up to five hours. Super Chat gives viewers a chance to add a little visual flair to their chats and gives creators a new way to keep connected to their fans while earning a little money on the side, let’s say for example, while shopping at Target or playing video games :)




Stream you soon. :-)

Product Managers Barbara Macdonald, recently streamed a horror game, and Kurt Wilms, recently watched "Bored at Target."



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The confetti has hit the field. We all went Gaga. The Pats have come out victorious.

While you may not have seen that coming, we’ve seen our highest ever watch time during the game, with more than 350K hours spent watching Big Game ads, marking over 15 percent year-over year-growth. If your Game Day party was anything like ours, mobile also played a huge role - 70 percent of this watch time came from mobile devices. And this is just the beginning.

Historically, the day after the Big Game kicks off several weeks of watching and re-watching Big Game ads, so make sure you check out the tenth anniversary of the YouTube AdBlitz channel and vote for your favorite by February 10 at midnight PT.

We’re already starting to see some early favorites. Some with a fresh take on iconic characters, others that introduced new heroes. But the undeniable theme of the night was ads that connected to social and political topics -- in fact, these ads accounted for nearly half of the watch time on Game Day.

Here are the top ten ads so far (based on Game Day views as of 2/6 at 2 a.m. ET):


  • Budweiser - Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | “Born The Hard Way”
  • Bud Light - Ghost Spuds | Bud Light Super Bowl Commercial 2017 feat. Spuds MacKenzie
  • Hyundai - A Better Super Bowl | NFL Hyundai Super Bowl LI
  • Kia - 2017 Kia Niro | “Hero’s Journey” Starring Melissa McCarthy
  • T-Mobile - T-Mobile | #UnlimitedMoves with Justin Bieber | T-Mobile Commercial
  • Tide - Tide | Super Bowl Commercial 2017 with Terry Bradshaw
  • 84 Lumber - 84 Lumber Super Bowl Commercial - The Entire Journey
  • Netflix - "Stranger Things 2" - Super Bowl 2017 Ad
  • Audi - Audi #DriveProgress Big Game Commercial – “Daughter”
  • Mr. Clean - Mr. Clean | New Super Bowl Ad | Cleaner of Your Dreams


    Interest in commercials didn’t stop at YouTube either. Of the top trending Google Search questions during the game, three were about the ads:


  • How old is Lady Gaga?
  • How does overtime work in NFL?
  • Who owns Alfa Romeo?
  • What is 84 Lumber?
  • How many “Pirates of the Caribbean” are there?



    The Big Game may have been called, but the battle for top ad is still in play. Check back next week to find out this year’s winner of YouTube AdBlitz!

    Deborah Powsner, YouTube Ads Marketing, recently watched “Patriots vs. Falcons | Super Bowl LI Game Highlights.”



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    In December 2007, Cara Brookins was a 36-year-old computer programmer working full- time and taking care of her four young kids (ages 2, 11, 15, 17). From the outside, she looked like any other mom but personally she had just closed the door on an unsafe marriage and was preparing to rebuild her life.

    After buying an acre of land in Bryant, Ark. and taking out a $150k loan, Cara and her four kids did something amazing … they rolled up their sleeves and started building their own home with the help of YouTube videos. The videos they watched on YouTube equipped them with the information they needed to make their big dream a reality. They watched videos to learn everything from how to build a solid foundation and construct countertops to even how to do their own plumbing. By September 2008--after nine months of working 20-hour days--Cara and her kids had finished their dream home. We spoke with Cara about finding hope, the power of YouTube, and why she chose to share her story:

    Q: Take us back to the moment you decided to build your own house … what sparked the idea initially?
    Cara: I had left a domestic violence situation with my four kids and we were really emotionally destroyed. All the advice I found for improving my life talked about baby steps and small goals. I couldn’t see how just resolving to get dressed in the morning was going to get me anywhere. We needed a safe place to live, and I was determined to do something big. So building a house felt like the most natural solution in the world.

    Q: Why did you turn to YouTube?
    Cara: We had always had a DIY mindset and we’d used YouTube to make our own jewelry and art projects. So we instantly focused on YouTube as the place to also learn how to set a foundation block or how to frame a window. I also researched energy efficient building ideas on YouTube. YouTube was really our go-to destination for the information we needed throughout the process.

    Q: How did your family react when you told them what you were planning to do?
    Cara: My parents thought I was absolutely nuts. They tried to talk me out of it and that shocked me. It seemed like such an obvious and perfect solution. Of course once they saw I was going to build it anyhow—yes, they already knew I was a very stubborn girl—they supported me in every way, even showing up on the job site to work.

    Q: How did you and your family use YouTube throughout the process?
    Cara: We used multiple videos for each project to learn multiple ways to do each thing, like frame a window or run a sewer line. And we tried to understand why each thing was done a certain way rather than just how to do it. Because we were watching at home on a computer (no smartphones!) and would have to remember everything to make it work the next day on the job site.





    Q: Was there ever a point where you looked at the construction around you and thought “what have I gotten myself into?!”
    Cara: From the day we broke ground, I thought this every single day until we moved in! It was an overwhelming number of decisions and amount of work. But I was the only adult to pull all the kids together and I had to play it confident and cool the whole time. I had to make the decisions and plans and then be the cheerleader. It was emotionally exhausting, but of course incredibly rewarding too.





    Q: For anyone out there who may want to learn how to do something but doesn't know where to start or thinks they can't do it, what would you tell them?

    Cara: Never stop with the phrase, “I don’t know how to do that.” Always add, “YET!” There are no limits to what you can accomplish if you truly want it. And of course that’s because if you want it badly enough you’ll put in a solid effort and endless hours of hard work. Approach each project with steady determination. I was a small computer programmer and an author. If I can build a house with my kids, there is no limit to what other people might accomplish.

    Q: Why did you decide to write a book about your journey and what do you hope people take from reading it?
    Cara: I never intended to write a book about the house when we were building it. I was pretty ashamed that my decisions had put us in this place, where our sanest option was to build our own shelter. Fiction writing was my big focus at the time. But after we finished, I knew I had to tell our story, not because I wanted other people to look at what we’d done but because I wanted them to imagine the big things they could build with their life. It took me six years to figure out how to write the book in the right away. I had dozens of versions before “Rise” sold. Even then there was a big fear over how people would react and what they would focus on in the story. It’s such a vulnerable time of our lives to share. But we’ve had so much support from across the entire world, and best of all the message people are receiving is that they really can do anything they dream of if they put in enough hard work.

    Q: How did this experience impact your kids and your family?
    Cara: My kids were so weak and small when we started this project. All our energy went toward survival with no energy left for setting goals or dreaming of a big future. After we built the house we each came away with the sense that absolutely anything was possible. Our dreams are ridiculous, crazy things and we don’t doubt for one second that we’ll achieve them.





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