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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Video Search Gets It Wrong

Google representatives admitted that the launch of its video store was lame, so the company redesigned the website. The familiar clean Google interface has been replaced by densely populated images that highlight the pay-for content, including CBS shows Survivor, CSI and NCIS.

Even with the tweaks, the site gives no indication of the depth of content, forcing users to scroll through pages of screen captures in the hopes that they might happen upon something of interest. The site is begging for a directory structure by genre (humor, documentary, etc), and by the name of the show.

What do pages and pages of pictures of the Charlie Rose logo tell us??? An index describing the guests would be much more useful.

Not surprisingly, Google Video had just one third of the unique visitors of MSN Video in December. MSN Video also has its limitations -- for example it asks you to install IE if you are using another browser. Also, if you search "video" using MSN search, the first result you get is Google Video! At least there are categories for news, entertainment, and sports, which is a step in the right direction.

For video search to be successful, sites should offer both search and browse capabilities. Unlike traditional search, where you are often looking for the answer to a question or more information about a subject, video search is primarily about finding things that entertain you. Organizing video into channels (what a concept) would make it much easier to find things of interest.

Video search is like a newborn baby, not so pretty when it first arrives as it has yet to take its proper shape. And by the looks of Google, MSN, and Yahoo today, we have a long way to go before online video begins to walk.

By John Gartner at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

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