“Obama,” “Jonas Brothers” and “Steve Wozniak.” If you search Google, YouTube or any number of video-specific search sites, you’ll find relevant videos on these well-known names in the news.
But OneRiot says its social search engine goes beyond relevancy to tap a “real-time index” of what Web surfers are currently finding. The company launched
an early alpha test version of its Web search service last November; today, it’s unveiled a more complete beta version that now includes a separate video results tab.
“Traditional search engines that index the Web pay a lot of attention to links and favor highly referenced videos much as a library would,” Tobias Peggs, general manager at OneRiot, told InternetNews.com.
“The real-time Web pays more attention to what people are doing on social networking sites and twittering. That’s what we look at, the pulse of the Web,” said Peggs. “And the index changes as people’s interests change.”
In a test for “Steve Wozniak”, the top video result at OneRiot shows a YouTube clip of his recent appearance on Dancing With The Stars. At Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), the top result is Wozniak’s Wikipedia entry, while the top Google video results are from speeches he gave a year ago or longer; similar results appear on YouTube.
At video search service Blinkx, the top result is a video of Wozniak back in January talking about Steve Jobs’ health.
Can you feel the pulse of the Web?
OneRiot said it’s built its index of “social signals” via a voluntary program that lets users forward their search results to a database that aggregates the results anonymously. The company says it has over two million members participating.
“This lets users share information about what’s hot or not and improve the index,” said Peggs. “We’re not trying to replace Google, but we do think we offer something it doesn’t.”
Of course, not every search is particularly time-sensitive or tied to online buzz. Someone looking to find reference information, for example, a recipe for carrot soup, or perhaps a computer part would be better served by a traditional search engine. OneRiot says it covers the traditional search queries by its participation in Yahoo’s Build Your Own Search Service (BOSS) program.
BOSS lets other search companies essentially private label Yahoo’s search infrastructure to supplement their own.
“We index the real-time social Web and then backfill with Yahoo if you want to do more of a long tail search, so we don’t disappoint those users,” said Peggs.
Additional features for mobile users and other social media aspects are in the works. “Our evolution over the coming months is going to be pretty rapid,” he said.