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?

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