Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo gained multimedia search expertise as part of its 2003 acquisition of Overture Services. Overture brought with it the AltaVista search engine, one of the first to incorporate video and audio search into its engine. The Yahoo Video Search project drew from AltaVistas experience but was its own project, Horowitz said. "What you are seeing is fundamentally different from the [AltaVista] video search as it existed six weeks ago," Horowitz said. Yahoos video search engine supports such common media file types as AVIs, MPEGs, Windows Media, QuickTime and Real. Some Macromedia Flash is included, but Yahoo is working to fully support Flash, Horowitz said.By indexing more than the anchor text and metadata associated with video, Blinkx can take users directly to a video clip and to the portion of the clip that matches their search terms, Blinkx founder Suranga Chandratillake said. Strict video search is more comparable to how people conduct Web and image searches today, but Blinkx envisions its approach as more akin to TV search, Chandratillake said. "The reality of [the video search] approach is its pretty weak and gets to the Web site but not the best point on the Web site," Chandratillake said. "With Blinkx, because were indexing the content and what people are saying on television, then you jump to the BBC or CNN clip." Blinkx TV is available through the Web as well as part of Blinkx 2.0, the companys desktop download that provides a client for entering searches and adds search toolbars to Windows applications. Read more here about Blinkx 2.0. Blinkx 2.0s "smart folders" feature for automatically populating a Windows folder with search results now supports video. Users choose to receive either links to relevant video streams or the file downloads within a smart folder, Chandratillake said. Full indexing of video likely will become more important for all search engines, Stein said. But it wont overshadow the bigger need to make multimedia results match the intent of searchers. "Video is not going to escape the core challenge of search, which is how relevant are the results and how deep are the results," he said. Beyond technology, search companies appear likely to partner more directly with the creators of video to make it more searchable. For Yahoo, RSS is only part of the strategy. Horowitz said the company has worked closely with media companies and publishers on the video search effort. Blinkx as well has focused on releasing access to video where it has a relationship with broadcasters. For example, with CNN video content, users can find relevant clips but still must subscribe to its paid service to view full-length video. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
As Yahoo tests the video landscape, startup Blinkx is tackling full indexing of video. The San Francisco company launched Blinkx TV, a beta service that captures video streams from 22 channels, including the BBC, Fox News, ESPN and Biography, and uses speech recognition technology to make their content searchable. It also includes audio streams from National Public Radio.