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Whatever Happened to Video Search?

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Today I stopped in on the ambitiously named “1st Annual Video Search Summit.” I was somewhat surprised to find just sixty or so people tucked away in one of the most drab hotel conference rooms in San Francisco. I mean, I wasn’t expecting the hottest ticket in town, but nothing much seemed to be going on in a space that should be ascending to its rightful throne right about now. In a panel where many of the major video search startups were included — Pixsy, ClipBlast, Truveo (owned by AOL), CastTV — the conversation was stunted and boring. Moderator Stephen Chao of WonderHowTo‘s attempts to spice things up by pressuring the panelists to disclose the size of their indexes and dish about adult video search only made the discussion more awkward.

So what’s going on in video search? Well, Dabble didn’t even show up to the panel, despite being listed on on the program. CastTV is still in private beta (though it is being less sparing with those beta invites), with a launch time frame yet to be determined, according to CEO Alex Vikati. AOL’s Truveo was represented by Pete Kocks, who said Truveo founder Tim Tuttle (the company’s usual public presence) has moved to more of a consulting role on the project, though he hasn’t yet left AOL.

Meanwhile, Google has screwy messaging about whether or not it thinks its own video search service can compete with YouTube. YouTube has 35 percent of videos viewed online, at least in the U.S., making off-site search irrelevant to many users. And the stuff that’s off YouTube tends to be on a branded web site that true fans like enough to remember how to type out or Thus, no video search provider has anything close to name recognition with the hordes of people who watch video every day. Anyone have a different take?

9 Responses to “Whatever Happened to Video Search?”

  1. re: Blinkx — they were on some versions of the speaker list but not on the schedule. Not sure what happened there. But the panel did note their absence and also backhandedly referenced their adult user base.

  2. Hey Liz:

    Glad you stopped by so we don’t have to! But I agree — a lot of these startups talked a big game about competing in video search, but it just seems like consumers aren’t going to include “video” in their search query, but that they are going to go to Google and type in “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Gary Vaynerchuck” instead


  3. Yeah Liz, I stopped by as well and interviewed Gary Baker, CEO of ClipBlast! His reaction was the same. It’s in its nascent stages. I think the problem is, people don’t even THINK to search for video let alone do it.

    I did though get Gary on video talking about the importance of creating video. He’s ambitious that video results will be the majority of all search results.

  4. What about blinkx? The leader in web porn search. use the key word adult in the search and you will find out where they make all the ad revenue from.

  5. My simple explanation is that I don’t think anyone’s figured out a video search product/technology that’s really compelling and works for the general consumer.

    The place where “video search technologies” have been most successful, to date, are in vertical markets like national security / military applications (see Nexidia, Virage/Autonomy — it’s where I think they do most of their business today) and media monitoring and TV advertising monitoring (we do the former and some of the latter).

    But anyone who says “people don’t want to search for video, browsing is just fine, thank you” might be well served to read Google’s corporate history ( where the first chapter includes this line:

    One portal CEO told [Larry and Sergey], “…Our users don’t really care about search.”

    Rakesh Agrawal
    President, CEO
    SnapStream Enterprise

  6. I am personally quite surprised that Video and Audio blog search engines are not more common.
    I really like listening to my favorite podcasts. It would be great if I would find “That time they mentioned X on podcast Y”…

    Considering Voice recognition is suppose to be so advanced now.. This is quite surprising.

    I had expected google to ad it to the general google search by now.