Video Search Is a False Messiah

Video search is a false messiah,” claimed Steven Chao at this week’s Video Search Summit in San Francisco. Video search is not about words, optimization or getting into the traditional web search engines. Instead, he says we must look to video consumers and more collaborative approaches.

It’s telling that Chao, who’s all about our cultural zeitgeist, is currently running an online portal for How-To videos. Chao is best-known as the originator of America’s Most Wanted and Cops, and later served as USA Network’s president.

According to Chao, we’re just at the beginning of video consumption on the web. Today, average Americans are still attached to their televisions and he believes it’s only a matter of time until Americans shift and become “internet viewing zealots.” Improving findability is critical for this transformation.

Video search is more about emotions than words. That’s why Chao advises to think differently and transform video search into a push rather than pull experience — and to find ways to push relevant video results and answers before there is a query.

“There will be a place for good quality,” said Chao. “In that huge amount of video, this room has the secrets.” At the Summit, the room was filled with web video search insiders, including Blinx, CastTV, ClipBlast, Dabble, Everyzing, Pixsy, and Truveo/AOL.

Chao identified Amazon’s collaborative filtering for books as a starting point. He encouraged the video searchers to develop approaches which take advantage of community interests. He wants us to incorporate consumption behaviors but not depend on popularity contests. All these insights should support video search and discovery.

Of course, I applaud Chao’s statements and also acknowledge we have some work ahead. With all the video search engines, we are relying on words, tagging and textual approaches today. There’s no doubt that we will have to harness people’s behaviors and interests, in more implicit ways, to really improve video findability.

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