Yahoo! Tests Video Search

Global Web portal Yahoo! Inc. Wednesday night made available a beta version of a new search service for videos. Called Yahoo! Video Search, the search engine crawls the Web for different types of media files, including Microsoft's Windows Media, Apple Computer's QuickTime, and RealNetworks' Real Media. The engine also will soon include XML-based RSS feeds, podcasts, and other media formats, according to Yahoo! executives.

Bradley Horowitz, Yahoo!'s director of Media Search, said Yahoo! has made its full index of movie and music trailers available on Yahoo! Video Search beta. And, he said, the company is attempting to build a much larger media index. "We're very much in talks with the studios and content owners to find content and bring it online," said Horowitz. He added that Yahoo! hopes bloggers and members of the technology community will help build the media index. Yahoo! also is urging video content providers to attach metadata to their media files, to make it easier for the search crawlers to find and index content.



Another component of the new video search engine is Media RSS--which will allow Yahoo! to syndicate RSS content and RSS-powered formats like podcasts through its video search. Horowitz said the platform reads metadata to provide descriptions as well as providing links to content sites.

In the last year, developing video search capabilities has taken on increasing importance, primarily because more people are viewing video online. With broadband penetration surpassing the 50 percent mark, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, consumers are able to stream and download online video without the choppiness and long load times as in the past. For technology vendors, the cost of hosting and creating content has also dropped.

"All the right tipping points are there," for multimedia search, said Horowitz.

Global software giant Microsoft has also said it is working on a searchable video platform to integrate with the pending launch of MSN Search. America Online's visual search technology vendor Singingfish recently updated its multimedia content to 20 million; the multimedia search engine sells guaranteed inclusion in its index.

Currently, Yahoo!'s video search engine is not ad-supported. "That's the least of our worries right now," Horowitz said. "Our primary goal is to begin a dialogue with our user base."

But, as consumption of streaming and downloadable media continues to grow, brand advertisers--projected by ZenithOptimedia to spend $139 billion this year on television advertising worldwide--are expected to follow the progress of Yahoo! Video Search. For years, major Web publishers such as Yahoo! have said they expect major television advertisers to shift their focus to the Internet.

Yahoo!'s site is located at

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