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Google Video Transitions to Video Search

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A lingering question since Google’s acquisition of YouTube has been what the parent company will do with its own video product, which it effectively announced was not good enough back in October.

Three months later, we are seeing the first integration. Google writes today on its official blog that Google Video “[will evolve] into a service where you can search for the world’s online video content, irrespective of where it may be hosted.” That doesn’t mean Google has disabled uploads or taken down currently hosted videos, just added a second source to the Google Video search engine.

In thinking about video search, we’ve been concerned that with the huge number of videos coming into and and video streams coming out of YouTube, there would be little need for — well — video search. For instance Dabble, one of the leading independent video search sites, said last month that 4 million of the 6 million videos in its index were from YouTube. If that’s the scenario, why take a sidetrip to a search engine when you’ll end up on YouTube anyway?

Back to Google. Salar Kamangar, VP of product management, makes the distinction that YouTube is a “content destination with a dynamic community,” while Google Video will play to the company’s core strengths: search and advertising. To that end, he offers a bit more detail on the new video AdSense trials, which will be, in un-Googley fashion, non-automated.

We’ll be working with a wide set of content providers, grouping together high quality video content from providers with high quality ads and offering them as playlists which publishers can select from and display on their AdSense sites.

OK, so that explains what’ll be happening off-site. Google’s other core ad business is connected to its search results. So far, the company does not place ads on its results pages for image searches. No word on whether it will keep that policy for video search results pages.

The hits-driven online video space is often about discovery rather than search — making services like Stumbleupon much more applicable. It’s also all about user experience; having videos that play instantly, without the interference of advertising, was a large part of YouTube’s rocket-trip to success.

Algorithm-loving Google appears to be seeing that it has to change up its standard approach, getting more social and more subtle, in order to succeed in this space.

26 Responses to “Google Video Transitions to Video Search”

  1. Liz Gannes

    You’re right, improving site search on YouTube would be great. I am making a distinction between search within a controlled space and search everywhere. If the two ideas become the same thing, that’s what I find less interesting.

  2. Liz, thanks for your clarification, but I still do not get it. :)

    “the high proportion of video on YouTube/Google makes the concept of video search less interesting.” Quite on the contrary. Lots of stuff (video) makes the concept of (video) search crucial/competitive advantage. Especially in growing competition.

    If YouTube was cloned, and equipped with an excellent search algorithm, it would take away those millions of eyeballs in the long run from the present YouTube. In a better site’ e.g. I could
    a, see the best quality Colbert report,
    b, of the exact date I am looking for,
    c, in a mobile version,
    d, and in the original version (not a home video response),
    e, in black and white (if at all) etc.
    to mention but a few problems Google needs to deal with.

    On Google Video and YouTube: check these keywords:
    colbert, -report, -stephen, -steven
    I still get results with Stephen Colbert, although I pretended to search for ‘any other colbert but the guy from s.c. report’ because the system is not good enough. The negative search was only able to filter what the accompanying text is, and not the video. It is still not 100% performance, not clever enough. It did not recognize a cultural product of ’s.c. report’ – yet (!).

    And yes, Google will start crawling for video. No assumption: explicitly stated intention by Google VP Product Management, Salar Kamangar. Should have done so a lot earlier, in fact.

    And it is also true in a way that G and Yt are ‘one company’, but maybe it’s more precise to say that G has decided to launch two kinds of video services: G Video (self developed) and Yt (buy-up), and they will be both in competition for users’ eyeballs, and in complementary relationship regarding users’ intentions and advertiser’s preferences.

    (I don’t know if we are still talking at cross purposes. :) Help me to understand better what you mean.)

  3. Liz Gannes

    Thanks for the thoughtful responses. I want to clarify one thing regarding Anna’s comment. My question about taking a sidetrip to a search engine was not so much a criticism of Google maintaining two sites. After all, Google and YouTube are now one and the same company. My point was more that the high proportion of video on YouTube/Google makes the concept of video search less interesting.

    Google Video is now, as bdc points out, search as applied to a controlled index, rather than search that results from crawling all the content out there. I would assume Google will start crawling for video, but today it’s pretty productive to just look through the two sites it owns.

  4. Sorry, it’s a bit longish:
    Based on Google’s policy, I think it is out of question that Google could afford to be a biased video search engine – users’ trust is their biggest asset (besides lava lamps).
    As for running two sites (one for Youtube and one for Google video search): I think it is totally reasonable and profitable.
    Reason 1: they have different profiles, roles, images as defined by Google (as Salar Kamangar put it, one for content the other for search – the options in AdWords)
    Reason 2: with two brands you have more scope for experimenting
    Reason 3: the combination of the above two
    From the user’s point of view:
    On YouTube you accidently ‘stumble upon’ and interact
    On Google video search you purposefully search and spend no time on socializing
    From the media point of view:
    Youtube functions as a content site of Google’s content network with a distinct community and with more scope for applying, testing various ad formats. And these tests, mind you, will be less affecting Google brand, as YouTube is separate. So video shots interrupted by an ad on YouTube will not clash with Google’s aim to ‘enhance user experience,’ because it is not Google. Being intrusive on YouTube while ‘finding out how to reduce being intrusive to the minimum’ works on the YouTube brand better and safer.
    How they are carrying out video ads is absolutely an exciting question. When Marissa Mayer was asked about it at Digital Life Design conference (DLD07) in Munich, she said they are experimenting and gathering data, feedback, etc. on what works best. See: (day: Jan 23, The Billion Dollar Bubble). “There are lots of different business models… Maybe it means the user needs pay directly for the service, maybe it means advertisers will pay more…advertisers are good at valuing those eyeballs.”
    It is baffling though why haven’t they improved the searches (awful lists). Also, why haven’t they tried to experiment with dividing youtube into two main columns as they do on Google search results pages: one column for organic video search and one for sponsored videos with bid management – based on similar principles to search algorithm. But maybe this division is coming on Google video search – which is worth being kept, if it works as an aggregator (and back to statement 1: they are going to index all sources they can/ are allowed to) with no social networking features, focusing on search, and potentially, with a differentiated method of generating ad revenue.

  5. I hope that Google will play a fair game, and not promote YouTube videos over competitors’ ones such as Metacafe, Daily Motion, Revver and many others.

    Since Youtube dominates the video sharing world, I’m sure that even if Google will play a fair game, Youtube’s videos will dominate search results as well, thus drawing lots of criticism.

  6. I still don’t get it. Google Video Search only displays results from Google Video and now YouTube.

    That is not video search! Everyone else indexes all video services. AOL Video Search, Yahoo Video Search, and even Windows Live Video Search.

    It is like a site indexing it’s own content and then saying it is a search engine.

  7. Google said here:

    they would combine Youtube and Google videos into a single search.

    They say sometime later they’ll make video search for everything. But they are not neutral. They host, and like all the hosters who have search, they will likely mod up their own hosted videos over other videos because they can make more money. But it’s not fair search, like Google’s websearch is.

    Many video hosters are mad at YouTube, and will probably not play with Gootube.

    Dabble actually has 7 million plus videos, from lots of others besides Youtube. In fact, I talked with Mary there yesterday and she said they had made about 10 partnerships in the last week to pull in large quantities of video for search from many other large hosters and were already indexing a good bit of that video. She said Youtube only had 35% of the market.

    It seems like they are rapidly building a comprehensive system that goes beyond YouTube, so, you might want to check back as your information about them now seems out of date.