Google announced yesterday that they had added 14 new channels to the beta version of Google Video search. The move marks yet another arena in which competitors Yahoo! and Google plan to go head to head. (Yahoo! also offers a beta video search engine at:

Although the full list of covered channels has not been announced, Google did release some names. Fans of TLC, the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, CNN and the Travel Channel will be pleased to see their favorite shows being added to the video search engine. Google video search already included indexed video feeds from ABC, PBS, NBC and Fox News, along with several San Francisco based stations.

So how does video search work? Well, the answer is a little easier than you might think. Video search engines, like the one offered by Google, work by scanning the closed captioning text for keywords. They then match up the video with the corresponding text and show screen captures of that section of video back as the search result. Google currently does not display full video clips or full transcripts due to licensing issues.

Google Video Search works much the same way that Google's Web search does. Users simply type in a keyword phrase (for instance, President Bush) and Google returns a list of tv video clips that feature that phrase within the closed captioning text of the video.

The search results feature a still image capture from the video along with a snippet of transcript from the closed captioning reel. The results also display a time stamp and the TV station that the clip came from. Selecting a clip produces a page with several screen captures and several text snippets from that show. It also produces links for more information about the show including broadcast times for upcoming episodes.

Google has only been testing video search since December of last year, and they've been using a limited number of stations. Thus, the indexed content is on the small side. Nonetheless, it's easy enough to find results for recent news and sporting events, or to look up images from your favorite TV shows.

Much like the traditional web search, Google Video Search allows users to use search qualifiers for more accurate results. Fans of a particular show can narrow the results to display only clips from that series by searching for "title:showname" or even "title:showname keyword." Likewise, users can specify certain channel searches by typing "channel:abc" or "channel:nbc."

Users are encouraged to give the beta a test run and to provide Google with feedback for future updates.

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May 4, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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