The announcements highlight the continued focus on improving video search technology as a means to expose viewers to more clips and help advertisers target them more easily.
Truveo's claim is based on a test the video search service (a division of AOL) conducted in August. The study evaluated each engine according to the number of sites it pulled video content from, for a sample of 5,000 random search queries. There were 100 sites within the study, crossing news, sports, TV, movies and music, and each site had to have a "reasonable" number of videos within their content to qualify. Queries included searches for specific video titles, such as "The Bachelorette: Meet the Happy Couple," and "Deadly helicopter crash," and the engines had to return the exact video from the original site--not an aggregator--to be counted.
The study showed that Truveo's coverage extended to 86 of the 100 sites. In contrast, all four of the other engines pulled content from less than 30 different locations. Blinkx came in at second place, covering 20 sites, while Microsoft Live Video Search covered 17. Google Video and Yahoo Video Search failed miserably, returning clips from just three and two of the top 100 sites, respectively.
According to Pete Kocks, president of Truveo and VP of AOL, the study focused on coverage because future innovations in video search technology (be they on speech-to-text searching, image recognition or others) are not useful unless the engine first pulls in a substantial amount of content. "There's a lot of talk in the industry about innovation, but you can't do anything meaningful unless you have videos in your index in the first place," Kocks said.
He said that Truveo did not focus on testing for relevancy because the criteria varies greatly across each engine, but welcomed third-party analysis and made its methodology public for comparison. As for the link to online video ads, Kocks said that video search logs could offer advertisers insight into viewer behaviors, which would make video ads of all forms more effective. "Advertising that goes around video is much more audience-driven than paid search advertising," Kocks said. "That means that the targeting has to more with behavioral data than keyword-based buys, and engines with the best coverage can provide advertisers with the info to make their video buys smarter."
Meanwhile, OVGuide.com has dipped its toe into the video search space, rolling out an engine that combines algorithmic search with relevancy cues chosen by an editorial team. The site indexes content from more than 2,400 locations (trumping even Truveo, it seems), and returns results that are ranked based on the quality of the original site, popularity and the editorial votes, among other criteria.
In addition to the standard TV, movie and music clips that most aggregators compile, OVGuide.com's roster also includes user-generated content and video game-themed clips. The engine also learns users' search patterns over time. "Our editorial team is constantly searching the Web for new and unique sites to include in our directory, so refining our search was the next natural step for us," said Dale Bock, OVGuide.com's president and founder.