Best video search engine?

Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review, has a piece in the Sunday NY Times about video search on the Net, focusing on blinx. Millions of Videos, and Now a Way to Search Inside Them . Excerpts:

The World Wide Web is awash in digital video, but too often we can’t find the videos we want or browse for what we might like.

That’s a loss, because if we could search for Internet videos, they might become the content of a global television station, just as the Web’s hypertext, once it was organized and tamed by search, became the stuff of a universal library. ...

Videos have multiplied on social networks like YouTube and MySpace as well as on news and entertainment sites because of the emergence of video-sharing, user-generated video, free digital storage and broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

Today, owing to the proliferation of large video files, video accounts for more than 60 percent of the traffic on the Internet, according to CacheLogic, a company in Cambridge, England, that sells “media delivery systems” to Internet service providers. “I imagine that within two years it will be 98 percent,” says Hui Zhang, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

But search engines — like Google — that were developed during the first, text-based era of the Web do a poor job of searching through this rising sea of video. That’s because they don’t search the videos themselves, but rather things associated with them, including the text of a Web page, the “metadata” that computers use to display or understand pages (like keywords or the semantic tags that describe different content), video-file suffixes (like .mpeg or .avi), or captions or subtitles. ...

At least for now, Blinkx leads video search: it searches more than seven million hours of video and is the largest repository of digital video on the Web.

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