YouTube Offers Free Caption Service
Google explained that it is launching the new service because 700 million people worldwide are expected to have hearing impairment problems by 2015.
The news will almost certainly improve Google's image for doing good where it can. Recent troubles including antitrust claims against the company, service problems with its Nexus One handset, and legal problems with its relationships with authors and book publishers have undermined Google's own "Don't be evil" philosophy. But this service could eventually help hundreds of millions of people through technology that has applications well beyond YouTube. And it is particularly impressive that the company is not charging fees for the service.
The new technology will also buttress Google's reputation as a global leader in innovation. The company has launched amazing services in recent years, most of them free, like Google Maps, Google Earth, and the Android mobile operating service. Google may stumble from time to time, but its overall record for invention and generosity is, once again, deserved.