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Google and Yahoo Enter the Video Search Arena

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Google and Yahoo Enter the Video Search Arena

Google and Yahoo Enter the Video Search Arena

The newest activity in the field of search appears to be combing through videos. Or in some cases, the transcripts of videos. Google had a debut of their version of video search last night. In what appears to be a well-timed reaction to Google’s release, a “video” tab appeared above Yahoo’s search box, too. The arena they are entering isn’t a large one. But it is populated by at least a couple of other members worth mentioning, including one backed by AOL.

Distribution Rights – One of the issues that will be involved in Video search, is whether or not the people who own the videos being listed have the distribution rights to allow access to videos. It will be interesting to see which approaches these video search engines take with verification.

Peer-to-peer networks enabling the unauthorized sharing of music and video have been the target of most major media companies. Companies providing search of video run the risk of alienating people who may be their biggest customers if they don’t manage the handling of distribution rights in the right manner.

Google Video Search – Google’s video search indexes closed captioning text. Their “About Google Video” page explains that they have been working on video search since December, 2004, and their present offerings are only from a limited number of sources, for now.

This quote on the page indicates how much of an impact this could eventually have:

Our mission is to give viewers complete access to public affairs programming and we are committed to use new technologies to enhance the value of our services. This partnership with Google further demonstrates how new technologies will expand our audience and make it easier to conduct online searches of our content for information most relevant to them.

– Brian Lamb, C-SPAN Chairman and CEO

Allowing access to C-SPAN’s content means that a lot of federal hearings covered by the station will now be available through a video search. That may draw considerable attention and use of the service.

They have partnerships with a number of televisions stations to provide content, and some of it is very recent. (A search for some recent events shows information from yesterday in the index, so it is fairly timely.)

Google does have a “contact us” page for people interested in sharing video content with them. The page indicates that they presently do not accept adult and home video. They also ask: “What content do you have online distribution rights for?” rather than “What content do you wish to submit?”

You can search by the title for a show, or by channel. The examples they give:

title:nightline
channel:abc

Keywords can be added to those, too.

They note that the videos aren’t available yet, but “stay tuned.” For now, the search functions as a guide to recently shown, or soon to air televisions shows. But, it may expand significantly beyond that role over the next few years.

Yahoo! Video Search – Yahoo! Video Search was originally released in December. The Yahoo Search Blog explains the decision to add a tab to it last night. See:

Video Search Goes Mainstream

Yahoo!’s search appears to reach out to the whole web, much in the fashion of its other searches.

The “advanced video search page” allows you to limit your queries to specific formats, or domain types, or even to specific sites. There is the possibility of explicit adult content showing up in results. Safe search can filter some of it, and it is possible to filter only the video result on the advanced video search page.

People can also submit RSS video feeds to Yahoo! using Media RSS or RSS 2.0 enclosures. There’s more information about the Media RSS module here:

Media RSS Syndication – Frequently Asked Questions about Media RSS

Using either Media RSS or RSS 2.0 with the appropriate enclosures allows you to submit a fair amount of meta data about the video, and about the way it is presented on the page it is located upon.

It is also helpful for sites where Yahoo!’s attempt to index the page might be hindered by javascript, or by the video being only available only in a pop-up player window.

Blinkx Video Search – Blinkx.tv is another video search, though not tied to a larger company like Google or Yahoo. It’s owned by a privately held firm located in San Francisco and London.

There’s a ten paged white paper (pdf) on the Blinkx site that explains some of the technology behind their audio and video search. It’s fairly readable as whitepapers go.

Rather than relying upon closed caption transcripts like Google, or contextual indexing or meta data in RSS feeds like Yahoo, Blinkx captures and records audio and video, and then uses software to index the material. It culls material from broadcast, cable, and satellite television, analog and digital radio, and internet based material.

Blinkx also allows the setting up of smart folders, which you can train to look for specific audio and video content as it becomes available. Sounds a little like Tivo.

SingingFish – Last, but not least is SingingFish.

The SingingFish pages don’t go out of their way to mention an affiliation with AOL. But, there does appear to be some type of tie-in with Time Warner, and the people at AOL.

There is a free submission page for sites with audio and video content, though no guarantees of inclusion.

SingingFish does seem to have a fairly high visitor rate, and offers a paid inclusion program to have your audio and video feeds linked to from the site. The selfserve.aol page has a “new” sign highlighting their offering of an audio video search.

Use of paid inclusion also allows the purchaser to create a customized landing page, and the ability to show sales options if they want to sell the content.

In addition to AOL, distribution partners for Singingfish include, amongst others, WindowsMedia.com and RealOne.com.

There’s some nice commentary on video search from Chalene Li of Forrester at: Google enters the video search arena & Yahoo adds video search tab (Link via a Threadwatch.org thread on Video Search.).

Google’s official press release, Google Tunes Into TV, from this morning adds more to think about as Google goes video.

Guest Columnist Bill Slawski is the Search Engine Optimization Specialist at WebAdvantage.net, the Traffic Optimization Company, Maximizing the visibility of their clients’ sites, driving targeted traffic and increasing sales with their Search Engine Optimization, Media Buying and Online Marketing Services.

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