Google's Video Beta: Plenty Of Searching, But Where's The Video?

Google dipped its big toe into the deep end of video search Tuesday, with the launch of Google Video. The video search prototype combs the closed captioning text of television shows, and then displays the results with a still image of the video, along with snippets of text and future show listings. The service allows users to explore content from broadcast and cable programs offered by the likes of PBS, NBA, Fox News, and C-SPAN.

Given the proliferation of broadband video, expectations for the video search marketplace are high, but the conspicuous absence of streaming video or paid search listings on Google's beta version illustrates how nascent the video search marketplace still is.

"Google's latest innovation is likely to disappoint many people," said Charlene Li, an analyst at Forrester Research, while JupiterResearch's Gary Stein suggested that Google's video search beta shows "how cautious it is."

Suranga Chandratillake, founder of the small but innovative search engine Blinkx, interpreted Google's move as just another validation of the market's promise. Blinkx launched a beta version of its own video search engine, Blinkx TV, in late December. Chandratillake added that it might have been more accurate for Google to exhibit its new search service as a "transcript search or a digital TV Guide," because it does not actually offer video.



Responding to the critics, Jennifer Feikin, director of Google Video, asserted: "This is just the beginning."

Licensing issues still prevent users from viewing video clips or accessing entire program transcripts. Google has also left off contextual text ads from its video search at this stage.

The Google Video beta is available at

Separately, Yahoo! on Tuesday announced a partnership with TV search layer TVEyes, to help it better index video content. That deal includes programs from the BBC, the U.K.'s BSkyB, and Bloomberg.

The portal has also given its beta video search product more visibility with links on both its home page and search home page. Like Google's video search, Yahoo! service obtains keyword information from closed-captioning included in TV programs. Previously, Yahoo! users could only access video search via Yahoo!'s research site, Yahoo! Next.

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