Truveo Challenges Video Search Players

In a move to compete against video search powerhouses, Truveo today came to market with a beta offering of its own. The technology is two years in the making and its emboldened architects are confident that it’s ready for prime time.

The California upstart is claiming that its new video search engine delivers higher quality and more up-to-the-minute results than traditional search engines because of its “unique technology” for indexing video using the visual characteristics of Web pages.

“At Truveo, our mission is to build an engine that indexes all of the video on the Web, giving users the most relevant and up-to-date results for any video search, be it the latest on Hurricane Katrina or Britney Spears,” said Tim Tuttle, co-founder and CEO of Truveo.

Video Search Wars

Tuttle has officially thrown down the video search gauntlet. The company said its new video search engine has already indexed an extensive collection of video that cannot be found with current search engines.

On its site, Truveo invites users to compare its results against those of Google and Yahoo. In the next six months, the company said it expects to significantly improve the breadth and quality of its search listings.

“Despite many years of development, video search engines today are scarcely better than the original video search engines introduced a decade ago,” Tuttle said. “For search to reach the next level and become truly ubiquitous, a fundamentally new approach is required to rapidly find and organize the vast amounts of television, movie and video content created every minute.”

Under the Hood

Tuttle and and his partner Adam Beguelin, both veteran search and networking technologists, are behind the technology. In early 2004, they began development of a technology, called the “Visual Crawler,” which is the foundation of the Truveo search engine.

Truveo’s “Visual Crawler” is designed to identify the visual characteristics of a Web application, as a human would. Using this approach, the company said the crawler is able to locate video that is normally invisible to standard crawlers.

Additionally, once the “Visual Crawler” locates a video, the company said it can also find an abundance of contextual information, or metadata that relates to each video. Due to the ability to mine this rich metadata, when a user types a query into Truveo, such as “Lance Armstrong”, the company said its search engine can return the most relevant and up-to-the-minute videos on Armstrong’s latest developments.

Traction in an Immature Market

Kelsey Group analyst Greg Sterling told TechNewsWorld that if Truveo’s claims are true, then the upstart certainly has a shot of gaining usage.

“Multimedia search is not a mature market. We are at the very beginning,” Sterling said. “I think what will ultimately happen, unless Truveo is very stubborn, is that they will be acquired.”

Sterling said Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL do not want to allow a new player to gain significant market share in what will be a very significant and important area for advertising revenue as more users turn to the Web for multimedia content.

“The power of the big brands is enormous. It is an uphill battle to gain mainstream customer awareness in the face of that is a challenge,” Sterling said. “But the market is not locked up by any stretch. Truveo has a shot.”

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