So word is out on Yahoo’s video search, many have noted its similarity to previous incarnations from Yahoo acquisitions alltheweb and AltaVista. A post on Yahoo’s Search Blog clarifies that those sites now have Yahoo’s video search improvements rolled in, so the new product is in fact an improved version. The original post on the video beta release is here.
What I find interesting about this new product is the extensions Yahoo is proposing for RSS – “Media RSS.” With it, Yahoo is attempting to address a major problem with indexing video – that of metadata, or more directly, the lack thereof. From Jeremy’s post:
As Marc Canter has noticed, we could all benefit from a bit more metadata to go with this growing pool of media. Who published this video? What formats are available? How is it licensed?
From our point of view, it means we can build a much better video search. You might want to filter results based on some of that metadata (title, actor, file format, etc). But it also opens up so many more doors. For example, your news aggregator might use your preferences to figure out which videos to download: Windows Media or Quicktime? High bandwidth or low? Heck, we can see entirely new rich media aggregators and tools being built–something like the popular iPodder currently used for podcasting. And when they are, this metadata becomes all the more important.
To get this started, we’re suggesting an optional set of metadata extensions that we’ve been calling “Media RSS” (yes, we’re so creative with names). They’re aimed at publishers who’d like to provide a rich set of metadata about the media being published. Our video search system will also support these Media RSS extensions in addition to video enclosures (see the FAQ and the draft spec).
Yahoo is using its power as a major distribution player to feed what it hopes will be a major play in video distribution. It may not seem like a big deal now, but as the web increasingly becomes a native environment for video, it will may well prove to be one of the most forward looking things the company has done this year. And by the way, it’s always fun to see what the top search is for “dancing monkey.” Hey, that looks like Steve Ballmer….