RealTime IT News

Google Launches Video Search Beta

Google took the latest swing in its search scuffle with other heavyweights this week when it launched a beta version of Google Video. The search tool enables users to scour the content of television shows on PBS, the NBA, Fox News and C-SPAN among others.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has recorded thousands of hours of programming since it began indexing shows in December. Viewers now can access content by entering a query for words or phrases that are embedded in closed captioning that comes with programs. The results list the programs alongside still images and text from the point where the search phrase was spoken.

So far the service only provides the single framed images with information about the programming. It doesn't allow users to view video on their computers.

"What Google did for the Web, Google Video aims to do for television," Larry Page, Google co-founder and president of products, said in a statement. "This preview release demonstrates how searching television can work today. Users can search the content of TV programs for anything, see relevant thumbnails, and discover where and when to watch matching television programs. We are working with content owners to improve this service by providing additional enhancements such as playback."

The search is expected to expand to include playback video in the future, according to Google.

Making its own video search announcement today, Yahoo said it plans to move video search to its home page and introduce its own closed-captioning text search services, partnering with content providers Bloomberg and the BBC. Unlike the Google service, Yahoo's offering will let users watch 60-second video clips.

The company has been offering a video search that scours the Web for movies or other relevant clips to the search query, but, unlike Google, does not pinpoint when the search query occurred.

Both PBS and the NBA said they expect the partnership with Google to increase the availability of their programming.

"For more than three decades PBS and local PBS stations have pioneered the use of state-of-the-art technology to use media to inform, engage, entertain, and educate the American public," said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of PBS, in a statement. "Today we are proud to join with Google, a company that continues to achieve new levels of technical innovation with the launch of Google Video, a new service that increases the reach and impact of PBS content."