19 Video Search

We discuss several different ways to search for videos.

Class held on 11/16/2009. (student notes; possible questions).

Class structure

  1. Go through "At beginning of class" information
  2. Go through diagram explaining the tools we'll be looking at today
  3. Work on exercises (tweets)

At beginning of class

  1. I'm gathering your tweets: geography class

My notes

The numbers in parentheses are the average daily visitors in the most recent months (as determined by Google Trends). In each section the sites are generally listed in order of popularity.



Video search tools come in three basic varieties:

  1. General Web search based on video description and tags
  2. "Deep video" search (my term) based on an analysis of the audio and video content of the video
  3. Video directories in which human experts have classified videos (or video series) by their general content

Each of these two varieties of search tools can be applied to different targets:

  • Site-specific search
  • Web-wide search

So this means that we have six types of tools that we might consider:

Web Site
General Web A B
Deep video C D
Directories E F

Now, even for these six types of tools, we can still have sub-categories of video search tools that differ based on their "target" content. For example, some sites search specifically for entertainment content, others for podcast-type content, and others for academic content.

Finally, sites can differ on dimensions other than those discussed above, most commonly:

  • Uploads — does the site allow videos to be uploaded
  • Host — does the site host videos or is it just a search site
  • Social — does the site allow visitors to tag and/or comment on the videos

Video search

All of the following sites allow you to search for videos around the Web.

Site Search Scope Uploads Host Social
Bing Video General Web No No No
Google Video General Web No Yes No
Yahoo Video General Web No No No
Blinkx Deep video Web No No No
Truveo Deep video Web No No No
Pod-o-matic General, Directory Web Yes Yes Yes
VideoSurf Deep video Web No No No
YouTube General Site Yes Yes Yes
Daily Motion General Web Yes Yes Yes
MegaVideo General Entertainment Yes Yes Yes
Metacafe General Entertainment No Yes Yes
Veoh General Web Yes Yes No
Hulu General Shows No Yes No
Clicker General Web, Shows No No No
  1. Bing Video
  2. Google Video
  3. Yahoo Video
  4. Blinkx: video search engine (100K)
  5. Truveo: "search video across the Web" (40K, down from 400K 12 months ago)
    • Description: "Truveo video search lets you search and find videos from across the Web. Use Truveo to find all types of online video including hit television shows, full-length movies, breaking news clips, sports highlights, music videos, or the latest viral videos. If you are looking for a specific video, Truveo video search can help you find exactly the video you want. Truveo can also help you browse through video across the web and discover new videos that you might like."
    • sample… so many things to look at on this page:
      • On the left results by channel that you can filter with
      • In the center you can choose "Top ranked", "Most recent", "Most popular", and "Highest rated" — FTW!
      • On the right you get results from Bloomberg. Why Bloomberg? I have no idea.
      • Clicking on the Search button you can choose to search Channels, Categories, or Shows — try it out and see how the results differ
    • Help
    • Articles
  6. Pod-o-matic (10K)
  7. VideoSurf (read this article) (7K)
    • Browse categories of news
    • Browse people in the news, for example, J
    • sample — look at all of the information on this page:
      • In the left column, lots of different filters.
      • In the center column, the results of the query with a short description, age of the clip, and a film-strip with shots of what is happening throughout the video
      • You can also move your pointer over the film strip and get an option to show the faces of the people in the video — amazing!
      • You can sort in multiple ways, and you can limit the results to videos added by time period
      • Description: "VideoSurf is video search engine that has created a better way for people to search, discover, and watch online videos. Using computer vision VideoSurf has taught computers to “see” inside videos to let users find and watch videos that they really want to see. Whether you’re looking to watch funny videos or scary videos, movie clips or TV full episodes, the hottest new music videos or breaking news clips, VideoSurf’s video search engine is the place to go to find the videos you’ll love."
  8. YouTube
  9. Daily Motion: "Dailymotion is about finding new ways to see, share and engage your world through the power of online video. You can find - or upload - videos about your interests and hobbies, eyewitness accounts of recent news and distant places, and everything else from the strange to the spectacular." Site is at 1.4M visitors per day, but it has lost 1/2 of its traffic in the last 18 months.
    • sample; you can sort these results in many different ways
  10. MegaVideo: "I'm watching it." (1.4M)
    • This is almost exclusively entertainment videos.
    • sample
  11. Metacafe:

    "Metacafe is one of the world's largest video sites, attracting more than 40 million unique viewers each month (comScore Media Metrix). We specialize in short-form original content - from new, emerging talents and established Hollywood heavyweights alike. We're committed to delivering an exceptional entertainment experience, and we do so by engaging and empowering our audience every step of the way." (500K)

  12. Veoh: "Veoh is a revolutionary online video service that gives users the power to easily discover, watch, and personalize their entertainment viewing experience. With a simple broadband connection Veoh gives you free access to all of the great TV and film studio content, independent productions, and user-generated videos on the Web." (1.1M)
    • sample
      • Notice the ability to limit by category and sort in different ways
      • Also, under the Advanced button you can filter by length
  13. Hulu: "help people find and enjoy the world's premium video content when, where and how they want it" (600K)
  14. Clicker: "What's on online"
    • Description: "Clicker is the complete guide to Internet Television. Our mission is to make it simple for you to find the right show, right now. … Clicker catalogs all broadcast programming online, along with TV-quality Web originals, from these silos and delivers them in one seamless, organized experience so you can easily discover what's available to watch (and what isn't) online, where to watch it, and what's worth watching."
    • Articles
    • sample; notice the features on the page:
      • Across the top, you can filter by whether the source came from TV, Web, Music or Movies
      • Across the top, you can sort by relevance, popularity, or airdate
      • Down the right, you can see two things:
        • The source results
        • The categories from which the results come — if you click on one of them, then you re-run the query and just get the results from that category


The term podcast has not been well-defined though there are some elements that are generally agreed-upon. As stated in Wikipedia, "A podcast is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication." A single episode of a podcast can be thought of as a talk-radio show or an editorial on TV news or a TV news segment. These podcasts are delivered to listeners by subscribing to them; some are delivered on a regular basis while others are not so regular.

Part of the trouble with this type of search is that the term itself isn't agreed-upon. Alternative terms are vodcast (referring specifically to video podcasts), vidcast, netcast, audio blog, blogcast, or DIY radio. This is not a good situation. A related problem is that these terms generally can be used to refer either to a single episode or the whole series.

The other major difficulty with podcast search is that the content of a specific episode is less well captured by tags and descriptions than by the content of the episode itself. As stated above, a podcast generally consists of an audio or video file — it does not contain a searchable text translation of that content. Every podcast series generally has a text description. So, if you're looking for a podcast about the U.S. economy, you're in luck; however, if you're looking for a podcast that specifically mentions the U.S. foreign trade balance, you have a much more difficult time.

This generally means that a superior podcast search engine would provide the following:

  • Aggregate podcasts (by whatever name), and only podcasts, at the site
  • Provide the ability to search over the text description of the podcast series
  • Provide the ability to search over the text translation of the podcast episode.

The third feature requires that the search engine implements a feature that grabs the podcast episode off the Internet and uses voice-to-text translation on the file. Unfortunately, this is a very computationally expensive task. Blinkx provides a search engine that uses speech-to-text technology on all of the videos that it indexes; it currently has over 35 million hours of video on its site. EveryZing is a company that provides multimedia search tools (including speech-to-text tools) for Web sites that want to provide this type of search on its content.

Except for iTunes, Google, YouTube and Bing, all of the following are niche sites. That doesn't mean that the small sites aren't worthwhile; it just means that this is not a popular class of Web sites. This section is a good set of sites for looking for business and news related sites.


Many podcast search engines and sites have existed over the last few years, but none have succeeded to any significant extent. iTunes is probably your best bet as a first place to look for podcasts but, for your particular topic, you should give the other sites a try as well.

If you're going to search on a general video search engine (such as Google Video or Bing Video), then you should use the following query:

theTopic podcast|vodcast|vidcast|netcast|"audio blog"|blogcast|"DIY radio"


  1. Yubby — find, collect, and publish from 30+ video sites
  2. YoVisto — "academic video search" (article)
  3. CastTV: "one stop watching" (40K)
    • sample; look at all the options on this page:
      • Down the left column are a lot of different filters for the search
      • Down the center column are all the results of the query
  4. Vuze: "find, download, and play high quality and HD video" (review) (40K)
  5. MeFeedia: "watch video from around the Web" (review) (25K)
  6. VideoSift (9K)
  7. LiveLeak: "redefining the media" (5K)



  1. Using Google Web Search: Add [music:] before any music related query (artist, song title, lyrics); article
  2. YouTube
  3. Yahoo Audio Search (click on "options" to be able to search on format, duration, source) (help)
  4. Yahoo Video (using video search to search for music)
  5. Altavista Audio Search (search by length and file type)

Music search and music providers


  1. iTunes
  2. Last.FM: "social music revolution" (review) (250K)
  3. Rhapsody (50K)
  4. Pandora (400K)
  5. New
    1. Moozikk — "music search made simple. find, listen, save and share your favorite songs." (article)
    2. Noiset — "Noiset.com is a music search engine where you can search for music albums, artist biographies and songs. Using Noiset, you will be able to find your favourite artist's discography, browse entire album collection, listen to song previews and find free download links. Noiset scans several up-to-date music blogs hosted on blogspot or wordpress and collects rapidshare, megaupload and mediafire download links for you."

Music blogs

  1. The Hype Machine — follows music blog discussions (20K)
  2. Search for audio blog or music blog or mp3 blog:


  1. Musipedia — "a searchable, editable, and expandable collection of tunes, melodies, and musical themes"
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