VideoSurf - the future of video search

By keyurpatkeyurpat (1255727991|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

As I was looking for search engines to research the other day, I came across one alternative video search that really caught my eye. I’m an avid user of Youtube and I don’t usually find myself using many other video search engines, but this one was something special, so I thought I’d share.

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What is VideoSurf?

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VideoSurf is a video search engine that compiles numerous sources—Youtube, Google Video, Metacafe and many others—to produce an extremely large collection of videos. What makes it unique? Users can contribute to the search engine by providing their own site suggestions, which helps make the results limitless. You can think of VideoSurf as one, giant internet video database.

Why it’s great – Features

VideoSurf has this unique ability to “see inside” its videos. How does this help? It helps us to distinguish the videos we want to watch from the videos we don’t by taking a quick look at the frames. As far as I know, VideoSurf is the only type of video search engine with sophistication of its kind. Here are some other great features:

  • Clean, organized and easy-to-use. Finding your videos has never been easier!
  • Even though the engine gathers videos from all over the internet, these videos are embedded right on the page so you don’t have to go anywhere.
  • Like Youtube, it has a built-in sharing capability. Users can also add sites to the search engine (although, I think it has to be approved). In this way, the search engine is very community-based.
  • The search results are much more interactive than YouTube and allows the user to easily find relevant results
  • Speaking of relevant results, videos often tend to get mistagged and this issue carries over to a search engine like VideoSurf. However, the people behind VideoSurf have done a great job of fixing this problem within their particular search.
  • Firefox lists the search engine as an extension and users are able to include a VideoSurf widget on their sites. There is even a free API!
  • Google now officially includes videos from VideoSurf in their regular search results, so it has to be good, right?

A Couple Experiments

I'm going to complete several searches using VideoSurf to test its reliability.

Search #1: [University of Michigan Tate Forcier]

  • Here is the query
  • I got 14 results. The results are very relevant, but I was surprised that I got so few results.
  • Let's try another one.

Search #2: [Best rollercoaster]

  • Sorry, had to include one for the project. Here's the query
  • I got 351 results (a LOT more than last time). The first thing I noticed about this search was how easy it was to distinguish between the good and bad videos. If I was using YouTube, normally I'd have to click and watch a video for at least 10-15 seconds before judging its validity. VideoSurf made it nice and easy.
  • Anyway, let's try a search where we can mess around with some of the more advanced search features.

Search #3: [Best moments the office]

  • As you've probably guessed, I enjoy watching the Office. Here's the query
  • 4,092 matches? Wow, this just keeps getting better. A lot of these videos were exactly what I was looking for too. Great! Let's see if we can find the "best" video by searching by popularity.
  • Here's the query
  • These results were not so good. Many of the most popular videos have almost nothing to do with my query. I guess VideoSurf still has some kinks to hammer out. But hey, here's an interesting feature. Search by season and episode? Let's try it.
  • Here's our new query
  • Hmm, I still see some irrelevant results, but it's definitely better than our last query. After scrolling down, I see why this type of search is so great: the videos are organized by season! Cool, right? After further looking around the page I see that I can organize results by show. WHAT??
  • Check out this query
  • Now this is why VideoSurf is so amazing. I couldn't be much more satisfied with these results.

My Review

VideoSurf is truly a one-of-a-kind search engine whose features are already being employed by search giants like YouTube and Google (owned by the same company…yes, I know). I definitely think all of you should check the site out because it's really THAT good. There are still some flaws that the creators have to hammer out, but I think that as the search engine grows, it will easily become one of the best in the industry. Here's my final review:

Reliability 7/10
Potential 10/10
User-Friendliness 9/10

OVERALL 9/10

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