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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