Google has added another product to its long list of extended beta services. Google Video is a TV video-search service that searches the closed captioning content of television programs – from major American TV content providers including PBS, the NBA, Fox News, and C-SPAN, among others – to return still photos and a text excerpt at the point where the search phrase was spoken.
Google Video also; displays a preview page of up to five still video images and five short text segments from the closed captioning of each programme; lists when a particular programme will next be aired in a given area (US only); and allows for searches within a particular show.
Transcripts are available, but not video clips. This service is another milestone as it broadens the company’s strategy of expanding search to information on and off the Web, and it takes it into a market where more advanced services have been available for years.
“What Google did for the Web, Google Video aims to do for television,” said Larry Page, Google co-founder. “This preview release demonstrates how searching television can work today. Users can search the content of TV programmes for anything, see relevant thumbnails, and discover where and when to watch matching television programmes. We are working with content owners to improve this service by providing additional enhancements such as playback.”
Not to be outdone, US-based rival Yahoo! has also launched a video search link on its home page. The Yahoo! service searches and returns actual video clips for playback, but does not offer transcripts. Google and Yahoo!’s video searches are interesting launches, but they do not match those of video search services currently available on the Web. Examples include Blinkx.tv and SpeechBot from Hewlett-Packard, which uses speech-recognition in its search, and ShadowTV, which offers a paid business service. Nevertheless, when a leading search engine company enters a new market, we all know something big is going to happen.