Whatever Happened to Video Search?

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 askaninja.com or ABC.com. 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?

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