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January 26, 2005

Google Video Search - Video's not opaque anymore!

Today, Google announced its Video Search feature - the ability to search into the Closed Caption transcript of various TV broadcasts.  My first test search included some of the optional parameters you can include in your search.  A search for "scientific" on "channel: PBS" led me to these results for PBS' Scientific American series -- including links to the series homepage and upcoming scheduled broadcasts.   I couldn't play the video from the search results - there's no asusmption that this content is being made available via streaming by the broadcasters, but it's a great search.  

I first built a system that does this back in 1998 - the marriage of a video delivery management system with the data from a Virage VideoLogger created what Google has done, but with the ability to work also from speech-recognition of the program's audio track.  Systems like StreamSage and Virage are capable of providing and processing raw data for these kinds of searches.  In a recent project, we're adding Virage-generated data to a system based on Clearstory Systems ActiveMedia back-end, and integrating Jakarta Lucene to create deep contextual search of Closed-Captioning, speech-to-text, character recognition, speaker ID (by voice), and more.  

Google is moving along its strategy of making knowledge searchable.  Web pages are just a tiny fraction of the knowledge and information (which are not necessarily the same thing) in the world. Search engines - even the "video search" available from Yahoo and others, only searches metadata associated with a video clip, not the video itself. The video is an opaque object to the search indexer.  Other content that was previously opaque to web search - like that from books and library archives (or even shopping catalogs) - is being made searchable by Google's efforts to index the world's knowledge.  Adding video to the mix is a terrific new step in that direction.  
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