Lights, Camera, Google

Google joined the trend of search for consumer-generated media on Wednesday, with the launch of the Google Video Upload Program.

At this point, the video service is one way: Media files go in, but they don’t come out. Via its corporate blog, the company promised that would change, without offering specifics.

“Eventually your work will be included in Google Video, where users will be able to search, preview, play and purchase it,” the blog said.

The most-used search engine launched Google Video in January; that service lets users search transcripts of broadcast television programs, returning thumbnail still images, snippets of text containing the key words and information on when the program was broadcast.

The Google blog promised to make uploads searchable and, eventually, to let others preview and watch the video for free or for a fee. However, not all video uploaded will be available for searchers.

This is one race where Google, with approximately 34 percent of the Web search market, is running to catch up.

There was spate of video announcements from Google competitors in December. Yahoo launched a video search service, taking the more elegant approach of letting media producers attract Yahoo’s regular Web crawlers to video content hosted elsewhere by including metadata called Media RSS.

And AOL’s Singingfish relaunched its service for searching and watching streaming media on the Web.

Blinkx TV lets users search television programming across a variety of cable channels, relying on proprietary technology to provide its own transcription and categorization technology. Users can play short segments of the video content that contain key words.

These approaches keep the media portals clear of any potential obscenity or copyright foul-ups, since most video content is hosted by outside servers. Yahoo also has some content deals with major studios.

Google said it would vet uploaded content to make sure it’s not pornographic or obscene. (Obscenity will be in the eyes of Google’s screeners, evidently.) “Please be sure you own the rights to the works you upload,” the service pleads optimistically.

Google made it clear that it would comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and, if it receives notice that material it’s hosting might infringe, it has a resolution system that could result in a user’s account being terminated.

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