SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc. late on Monday launched a test
service to search video from ABC and others -- throwing its hat into a
market already being staked out by major rivals.
At the same time, Google search competitor Yahoo Inc. said it had
beefed up content on its own video search service.
Google began indexing video for its Google Video service in
December. The new service helps users find what they're looking for by
searching the closed captioning text that runs with the video.
Unlike other services that find and play video clips, Google's initial
version shows selected text, up to five still video images and a
variety of viewing information.
"Now users can search the content of thousands of TV programs, find
the shows that have the information they're looking for, and learn
when they can watch them," Google co-founder Larry Page said in a
The announcement from the Web search leader came amid broad
speculation that Google had been building a repository of searchable
video content much in the way it is archiving books housed in major
"This is a first step" for Google, said Jupiter analyst Gary Stein,
who added that the Mountain View, California-based company is looking
to start relationships with content owners.
Yahoo started its search service in December, the same month privately
held Blinkx unveiled its beta of Blinkx TV.
Yahoo is led by former Hollywood studio chief Terry Semel, who has
emphasized building relationships with content providers, and has
inked deals with "Survivor" creator Mark Burnett Productions and
animated shorts producer JibJab Media.
Its service also searches content on Yahoo's own movie, music and news
Yahoo late on Monday said it is putting a link to its test video
search service on its heavily trafficked home page. It also added
closed caption content from TVEyes, which will give users access to
such news providers as Bloomberg, the BBC and British Sky Broadcasting
Group (BSY.L), or BSkyB.
Elsewhere AOL's Singingfish service has for several years provided
video and audio search. Autonomy Inc.'s Virage offers video search for
Software giant Microsoft Corp., which is making a major investment in
Web search, licenses technology from Singingfish to power the audio
and video searches on WindowsMedia.com.
Search companies have been seeking to forge relationships with
Hollywood as high-speed connections deliver ever better video and
audio content to consumers via the Internet.
Such alliances are necessary since ownership issues loom large with
music and video.
While video search appears to be a more difficult task, analysts said
it is something Web search companies will deliver as people consume
more entertainment on the Web.
"It's just a matter of time until all this stuff does converge. When
it does, all of the major search companies are going to be ready with
something," said Chris Sherman, an associate editor at
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