Google, Yahoo Try To Crack Video Search Market

Searching for video content online may be a hard nut to crack, but that hasn’t stopped fierce competitors Google and Yahoo from entering the fray, albeit in different fashions.

Search engines must consider both the difficulty of searching video using a written medium and the intellectual property rights of the content owners.

That may be why Google, which yesterday unveiled the beta of its Google Video, has started by offering a service that searches the transcripts and close-captioning of television shows. It provides a snapshot image but no video with the results.

Same Search, Different Results

A search for “Condoleeza Rice,” for example, turned up results from ABC, CBS, C-SPAN,C-SPAN2, Fox, NBC, PBS, UPN, WB and San Francisco’s KRON.

Yahoo, which added a video search tab to its search and home pages the same day Google announced its beta, scours the whole Web and gives users a link to use to download the video file. Yahoo uses meta data from RSS feeds tofind content.

The “Condoleeza Rice” search on Yahoo netted links toStanford’s online video site, San Francisco Independent Media Center and theHeritage Foundation, among others. Yahoo has also partnered with TVEyes,whose search capability includes video from Bloomberg, BBC and BskyB.

“Google is wisely treading lightly in what they’re enabling,” MichaelGartenberg, senior analyst at Jupiter Media, told TechNewsWorld. “Linking tovideo is not something that they couldn’t do, they just don’t want to getsued.”

Forrester analyst Charlene Li sees another problem with the idea of video search:”[T]here’s a dearth of video content that people really care about on theWeb,” she wrote in her blog.

It Takes Time

Li likened the nascent market to that of online music.

“While Yahoo and Google are both eager to carve out relationships withHollywood producers, the reality is it will take years before the reallygood video content will be available online due to rights management andcopyright issues,” she wrote.

She also suggests that Google has purposely chosen not to link to video inorder to goose studios into recognizing that readily available content couldbe a way to earn them more money. Google said the search is designed to helpviewers find shows they might want to watch and would otherwise not knowabout and added that later versions will allow for clip viewing and expandbeyond television.

Google was a late entry into the video search market. On December 1,Singingfish, owned by AOL, launched its redesigned multimedia search portal, which includes results from file formats MP3, Quicktime, Real andWindows Media Player., launched by Blinkx, an independent San Francisco company, on December16, uses special software to capture and index TV content.

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