While Google/YouTube may change the dynamic of video search, it’s still hopelessly frustrating to find a video online. Wall Street Journal writer Jessica Vascellaro wrote a nice article on video search today. I liked it not just because it was the first time I’ve been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. The article shows that companies have made significant efforts to address search. Ironically I can’t find the article online. But it’s titled “Finding Tom Cruise (Not Cruise Missiles). Have a go.
Inspired by the piece, I did my own comparisons of the online video search websites she referenced (and one she didn’t- Videoronk.com). My methodology was simple. I searched on my username (Nalts) which I also use to tag every video I upload to any video site. If nothing showed up, I can assume that the engine is crawling neither the username nor the tags, which means it’s not effective. If that failed, I tried a few of the unique titles I have for my videos.
In general all of the sites were poor at finding my videos. Results were incomplete, and they are based purely on the metadata (titles, tags, etc.) which I provide when I upload them. Eventually sites will convert speech to text and that will help. But it will be a long while before these operate with the success of search engines looking for text.
The ratings are in the image above. The winner by a mile is Videoronk. While it only indexes a small portion of my videos (and other people that have tried it), it’s still outperforming the other search tools). Purevideo was in second place because it also has links to each online-video site’s top videos. Pixsy was marginal, and Blinkx.com has actually gotten worse since the last time I used it.
Honorable mentions go to AOL Video and Yahoo Video — both video sites index videos beyond those on their site. Ironically, Yahoo Video ranked my Blip.tv videos higher than those that I uploaded on Yahoo Video. Revver seemed to be the online-video site that was most searchable by these engines. All but Blinkx.com found my Revver videos (which is ironic because Blinkx.com established a partnership with Revver earlier this year).
I didn’t include Metacafe in this test because it’s a destination site, but it’s planning some advanced search features like language translation in search. We can only hope that Google will start to do a better job of indexing YouTube videos and videos on other sites.
For now the easiest way to find a video is to start with YouTube, and then hit Videoronk if you don’t find it.