Yahoo Explores Video Search Engine Technology

Gretchen Gallen
SUNNYVALE, Calif. – In keeping with similar efforts underway by Google and Microsoft to capitalize on multimedia search engine technology, Yahoo launched a beta site for its new digital video search feature, Yahoo Search Video.

Yahoo announced in November that it was penning deals with media and entertainment companies to index content and tap into the burgeoning demand for video online, particularly at a time when high-speed Internet access is fast becoming the norm for the average user.

According to industry analysts, Yahoo's new service, while still in its testing phase, is poised to become a popular search tool as convergence takes hold and home-based media outlets such as television and PC features become interoperable.

But Yahoo isn't the only industry heavyweight to set its sights on creating an indexing system for the vast amount of video content currently accessible online. Industry rival Microsoft is currently developing a similar digital video search platform and Google is said to be in the process of recording and indexing digital programming. America Online has also revamped video search service Singingfish.com.

The new Yahoo service uses a proprietary search technology to scour the web for a variety of file types, including Microsoft's Windows Media, MPEG, Apple Computer's QuickTime and RealNetwork's Real Media.

A typical search for popular adult films "Behind the Green Door" or "Deep Throat" renders numerous links to sites where the films can be purchased or downloaded.

The search service also lets users limit searches to non-adult content.

Over time, Yahoo plans to promote a syndication standard called Really Simple Syndication Media that connects the search service to all Yahoo media partners and streamlines the process of indexing video feeds. Yahoo also plans to use metadata in video content, which would make the content easier to find and index.

Yahoo representatives have said that they are throwing their weight behind Media RSS so that publishers and content owners can connect their works to the search tool and benefit from traffic and advertising opportunities.

So far, Yahoo has sealed deals with AtomFilms, Creative Commons, Broadband Mechanics and several other companies.

"We're going to be reaching out to the entertainment and broadcast industry to deliver the best video search out there," said Jeff Weiner of Yahoo.

The service will make its formal launch sometime in 2005, the company said, and over time it will allow individual users to incorporate video feeds onto personal web pages.