Video Searching Using Google

The power behind this is the use of closed caption to create searchable text from television. The nice thing here is that you can search video based on total spoken content.

The latest post over at PVR Blog by Matt Haughey is about Google’s Beta site testing their new video search tool (also at Wired). Unfortunately, right now, there’s not a whole lot of video out there to be watching. So if you looking to download some free porn, you might want to use another site. Every search I tried came back with "Video is currently not available." Of course, I was searching for only family-friendly content.

The power behind this is the use of closed caption to create searchable text from television. The nice thing here is that you can search video based on total spoken content. Someday, we’ll be able to search on scene tags (like Flickr). Until then, we’re stuck with really bad closed caption auto-translations, like this:

David duh cub any stays next X Files movie will Likely shoot late they are year and it will be a stand-alone horror film.

from my search for x files. Now, I suppose the small amount of pages that turn up are because this things only been collect data for a very short period of time (like 2 weeks), so it will get better. Maybe the computer translations will get better, as well.

TiVo users, such as myself, would love to see easy to use links in the search results for upcoming shows. This could be very easily implemented by Google using the "Link to This" feature of TiVo, which I first read about at George Hotelling’s site (he currently writes for PVRBlog). Sadly, the links TiVo uses there aren’t easily deciphered by humans to write into code (hint, hint: use timestamps and English words, like normal searches). Anyway, maybe even if Google doesn’t decide to do it, a FireFox plug-in might accomplish the same thing by recognizing video search results and giving some handy dandy recording options, sort of like what Chris Anderson was wishing for at The Long Tail.

So it appears that with some of the recent moves by Google (i.e. – scanning library documents, video searching, and pretty much everything except g-mail), they are setting themselves up to be the world archivers of information. They also give us a number of ways to use and manipulate that information with their very simple and efficient searches. I’m not sure that what the video search gives us as yet provides anything we can’t already do even more efficiently elsewhere, but being able to search verbal content of television and film is obviously a huge leap in the usability of that form of data. How long until life is just one big database held on Google’s notoriously frugal servers?

Is Wired Getting Tired?

I’m loath to admit it, but I’m afraid that this month’s Wired magazine that came sneaking through my mail slot this afternoon is not their best work.

Wired Magazine, Feburary 2005

I’m loath to admit it, but I’m afraid that this month’s Wired magazine that came sneaking through my mail slot this afternoon is not their best work. The cover article is on Firefox, and it’s early beginnings with Blake Ross & Ben Goodger. I enjoyed getting to read about the two of them and the history on my favorite open source software. However, 1.0 came out in the Fall of last year. No one was staying up late to get this story done for print. To point, the article closes with the "where are they now" bit on Ross and Goodger, explaining that Goodger plans to stay at the Mozilla Foundation. Of course, this evening Slashdot reports that Goodger plans to go work for Google, effective two weeks ago.

In another article, the prolific Lawrence Lessig writes how Wilco is the new model for a rock band of the future. You should read his article (and pretty much anything else he writes), but again we’re not talking about any recent happenings here. Wilco broke record company hearts with Yankee Foxtrot Hotel way back in April of 2002. I was a newly-wed back then! And even then, they were about as big as bands get in the alt-country scene. Just ask my brother, Dave. I enjoyed the piece none-the-less, but Jeff Tweedy must be just as oblique in person as he is as a songwriter.

Lastly, one of the little tidbits in Wired I always look forward to, other than their FOUND: Artifacts From the Future closer each month, is the Jargon Watch. This month, they gave me:

Buttnumbathon – A painfully long and boring movie. See: Oliver Stone’s Alexander. (Better yet, don’t.) Also the name of reviewer Harry Knowles’ annual film marathon and birthday bash.

Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News has been throwing these things together for the last six years running! This is not the latest in jargon my friends.

I’m looking forward to next month’s Wired. They’ve got two months now to find some new stuff. Since MacExpo S.F. and CES L.V., maybe they’ll have at least plenty of gadgets to write about.