AOL tuned into video search on Thursday with the launch of a service for finding and playing back streaming video.
To power its video search results, America Online Inc. is tapping into an index of millions of Web video clips from Singingfish, a company AOL acquired in 2003. But AOL Video Search goes beyond Singingfishs technology, said Fred McIntyre, an AOL vice president.
Search results also will include results drawn from AOLs own library of 15,000 videos, as well as from a growing number of content partnerships through which producers will provide RSS feeds pointing to video clips, AOL said.
While the AOL video library does tap some assets from parent company Time Warner Inc., it is specific to AOL and includes movie trailers, music videos and original programming, McIntyre said.
“People want to make video available, but it has to be played back in a certain interface, they need to manage copyrights and security, and they want advertising associated with it,” McIntyre said. “Its difficult technically for spiders to go out and find all that stuff.”
AOL Video Search is available through the AOL Search site as well as through AOL.com, including AOLs beta of its revamped portal site. AOL also is planning to launch a video hub of music, news, sports and entertainment video on its home page when it relaunches later this summer.
AOLs move into video search comes on the heels of Google Inc.s announcement earlier this week that it has begun playing back video that has been submitted by producers to its video search site.
In addition to Google, AOL will be competing with rival Yahoo Inc., which indexes Web video, and startups like Blinkx.
With the beta test of AOL Video Search, AOL also previewed the AOL Player 3.0. The media player works with Internet Explorer in order to play back a video in a pop-up window. It supports all the major video formats, including Windows Media Player, Real and QuickTime, McIntyre said.
AOL decided to link video search results to its own in-browser player in order to provide a consistent interface to users, McIntyre said. The company also has built features into the player for searching for video and for storing favorite videos.
Online video can be difficult to search for because search engines often rely on inconsistent and incomplete metadata associated with a clip, such as its title and length.
To combat that problem, AOL is using speech-to-text technology in its video search effort to let users search for keywords spoken in an indexed video. McIntyre said AOL does not plan to follow the route taken by Google and others to also let users view specific sections of a video where a queried phrase is spoken.
“We didnt think that made as much sense from a consumers perspective, because it seems to tell you more about what the technology can do than what the consumers want,” McIntyre said.
Part of AOLs video search move revolves around advertising. The company already has been selling video ads that play ahead of a clip and are synced with a display ad.
It now has begun including those ads in videos selected from its own video library but not before broader Web video, an AOL spokesperson said.