AOL Banks On Video APIs

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Nine months after AOL acquired his video search company, Truveo, Dr. Tim Tuttle debuted his next astonishing accomplishment in online video.

Tuttle comes across as a brilliant man, one who would rather be forcing balky code to do its master’s bidding than doing the PR thing with some hack writer on the other end of a phone line. The good Doctor had some insights to share about the AOL Video Search program opening APIs to developers.

The program officially opened today, as part of AOL’s strategy in capitalizing on a trend the company noted in online video. Tuttle said that AOL has quietly seen growth in the reach of its video offerings. Online, he noted that most growth has been confined to a few sites, like YouTube and Google Video.

AOL services that have been made available as APIs allows third-party developers to perform several tasks. REST and AJAX APIs let developers create video search functionality for their websites.

Those open APIs will permit the creation of online video communities, portals for browsing video, or even personalized guides to available video content.

Webmasters who currently publish videos can sign up for a Director’s account. This will take the feed for an online video and make it part of AOL’s distribution network.

Tuttle said these open APIs go well beyond what is available today. In opening up these APIs now, rather than awaiting a new launch of video search, AOL should find itself receiving feedback that can help improve its video technology.

Building this platform proved a significant challenge, and doing so quickly increased the complexity. Some of the groundwork had been completed with the APIs before AOL came calling with a purchase offer in December 2005.

Tuttle noted that the initial set of APIs developed at Truveo have now been “put on steroids.” The work done over the past few months probably had its biggest impact on search quality, as they have seen big improvements in that area.

Further improvements should come as developers embrace the social networking potential of the API set. Users will be able to rate videos and search by tags, for example.

This type of interaction will help improve the video search results. Tuttle said that AOL and its distribution partners see more unique visitors than any other video site.

An accurate search paired with search ads should help AOL build upon the opening of its content to the ad-supported, audience driven model it began to embrace in mid-2005.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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