Video Search: A Whole New Ball Game

    March 26, 2007

The landscape of search is changing. Online video is becoming more prevalent to the realm of search, especially given the fact that Google has begun including links to YouTube videos in its SERP pages. Will the ability to search video, however, ultimately change how users consume the information contained within the clips?

It’s not a question of immediate consequence, as the only method of indexing video data is through metatags. What if, however, visual recognition technology surfaced that totally automated the indexing process and gave users the ability to not only search for particular video clips, but also the ability to pull out only the relevant information from within in each clip?

That’s the question that SEO guru Gord Hotchkiss ponders in one of his recent blog entries. Here’s what Gord has to say about the future of video search, specifically touching on how current surfing trends may impact how we consume the content in the future: 

But when video search makes it possible to access information at any point in the video, how will that impact our engagement with that video?  In the last 10 years, we’ve seen some fairly dramatic shifts in how we assimilate written information.  We have moved from our past experience, where information was presented in very much a linear fashion in novels or books, to the way we currently assimilate information on websites. 

When we interact with websites, we "berry pick", hunting in various places on the page for information cues that seemed to offer what we are looking for.  Assimilation of the written word is much more erratic experience right now.  We move in a nonlinear fashion through websites, picking up information and navigating based solely on our intent and the paths we choose for ourselves. 

One of the greatest revelations in website design was that we can not restrict users to a linear progression through our site, much as we might want to control their experience.

This line of thinking lines up with what I’ve believed about the Internet all along: at best, it’s a spastic medium. Engagement is a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, but the average surfer is going to be enthralled with your site for a grand total of about 3 seconds before moving on to something else.

As information becomes easier to pluck from videos, expect viewership of entire clips to plummet.