How to find and link to a quote in a video

Recently, Google announced a couple of new features related to captions and subtitles on YouTube: automatic captions and automatic timing. A couple of days ago, they released a video of the announcement which was made in Washington, D.C.¬†Of course, since I’m a geek, I watched the entire hour-long video, even though as Googler who manages a YouTube channel with over 100 captioned videos, I totally already knew about anything they would announce.

Or so I thought.

At 20:32 in the video, Ken mentions a search feature that I’ll admit I was unaware of. Since captions have timing data, it’s possible to not only find the video that contains a specific caption, but to also point the user directly to the part of the video they were looking for, which is especially useful for longer videos. Here’s how to do it:

Google Video

  1. Search for the text of the quote you’re looking for.
  2. Enable the “Closed captioned” filter in the left sidebar. (You can also start out your search with this filter on the Advanced Video Search page.)
  3. Make sure you’re in “List view,” and then click on “Start playing at search term” in the result you want to view.

YouTube

  1. Search for the text of the quote you’re looking for.
  2. Use the “Closed captions” option from the “Type” drop-down.
  3. Click on “Start playing at search term” in the result you want to view.

And once you’ve found that specific point in the video that you want to share with everyone, you can link directly to it by adding this to the end of the URL, using 20 minutes and 32 seconds as an example: #t=20m32s

Note that a similar feature exists in the Google Voice app for Android, which allows you to jump to a specific part of a voicemail just by tapping on a word in the transcript.

Finally, I wanted to highlight one more announcement that was made recently about captions and subtitles. Google Translator Toolkit, a free service that assists with translation tasks, now supports editing subtitles in the .srt or .sub format. Just upload your subtitle or caption file with the correct extension (don’t save it as .txt), and you’re on your way to faster translations and a wider audience.

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