Zoom is stepping up its game against Microsoft Teams and will offer users of its free accounts the ability to use its closed captioning service.
The closed captioning service, which Zoom is calling Live Transcription, will be available to all of its users, including free account users, in the fall of 2021, according to Zoom. Currently the feature is only available to users on Pro, Business, Education, and Enterprise accounts.
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Zoom notes that it already provides manual closed captioning as part of its set of accessibility features and the new automatic closed captioning functionality is a step further in this effort.
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It will make the service available immediately to users with a free account who request it, but there could be a two-week delay before the feature is activated.
"To help free account holders who require Live Transcription, starting today and up until the feature's broader release, we will also be offering automatic closed captioning to meeting hosts upon request," Zoom said.
"From now until fall 2021, Zoom will be happy to offer access to the Live Transcription feature (automatic closed captioning) for any users who need it to better participate in their Zoom meetings," Zoom says on the form it requires users to fill out.
"If you meet the criteria, you will be receiving a confirmation email shortly with instructions on how to confirm your request," Zoom adds.
"We will then process your request and will send you confirmation once the feature is enabled for your account. We expect to get back to you within 1 to 2 weeks."
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Zoom has been ahead of Microsoft Teams on many features, such as a 49-person grid view and meeting controls, but Microsoft beat Zoom to the punch on live captions. Microsoft released live captions for the free version of Teams back in June. Teams displays live captions but doesn't save them.
Otter.ai began offering live captions for Zoom meetings in October.