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The other day a few friends and I stopped back at the office
after a long day of golf. By age, the foursome spanned three
unique musical eras. Pete the chef is a child of the '70's.
Business partner Andy and I are products of the '80's and our
fourth, young Derek the hotel manager had his halcyon days in
the '90's. Finding music that suits all our tastes is a
challenge with one liking the guitar-god rock of Led Zeppelin,
two digging the melodic meanderings of the post-punk '80's and
the other intently listening to the contemporary sounds of
Though the several thousand MP3s from our collective systems
have been merged into one meta-MP3 music file providing what
should be at least a week of continuous, entertainment. The
problem is, my main computer appears to be dropping its drivers
and those thousands of MP3s are sounding sort of fuzzy.
After the short wave of annoyance passed, I decided to put my
powers of search to the test and venture forth to find and
replace my errant sound driver. It didn't take very long to
decide that was a bad idea disguised as a good one. Several
pints of loosening fluid consumed between the 10th and 19th
greens were still active. Ten minutes of extreme frustration
surfing around the site of the company that made my sound card
led me to Google in the vain hopes I could find another
repository of arcane drivers.
"What's taking so long with the Led Zeppelin? I can make a
slow-soup faster than this," taunted Pete the chef. Pete pushes
the envelope when it comes to the never ending computer problems
that tend to plague my home-office.
Inadvertently I stumbled upon Google Video. Pete's Led Zeppelin
craving was instantly assuaged by a live 1979 performance of
"Rain Song" and I was about to experience one of the most
interesting innovations seen online in months.
While the Zeppelin footage was old and grainy, the sound was
master quality. Next, we moved to the early '80's looking for
anything by The Clash (video.google.com/videosearch?q=the+clash&hl=en
). We were rewarded with a live concert
version of the piece Rolling Stone Magazine called the most
influential song of its decade, London Calling. Again, because
the recording is almost twenty-six years ago, the video quality
is rather low but the sound quality is excellent. Two successful
searches lead to us wanting more. Derek leaned over and asked if
we could find a piece by a friend of a friend in Toronto,
Bedouin Soundclash (video.google.com/videosearch?q=bedouin+soundclash&hl=en
). The first reference was the video
for "When the Night Feels My Song", the band's recent hit,
followed by five other live performance videos.
75% of the screen is used to display the video content with the
remaining quarter on the right of the screen showing several
options for viewers and webmasters. As we watched the two live
performances and one video, we explored some of these options.
At the top of the right side screen is a five-star ratings
system similar to the one used by Windows Media Player. Below
the ranking stars an Email this video button allows viewers to
send the video clip to friends. When the emailed clip arrives, a
video box (present in both Gmail and MS Outlook) is displayed. A
click on the play arrow opens a Google Video viewer playing the
For some video clips, the "email this video" button has expanded
capabilities. Bloggers are invited to display the clip on their
blogs with links coming in multiple forms including, text links,
embedded video, and direct support for MySpace, Blogger,
LiveJournal and TypePad.
Below the Email/Blog/Post to MySpace button is a short
description of the performers along with links to other pages
displaying similar content. Directly below the description, five
links appear showing a playlist of similar videos, still images
from the video being shown, a list of videos posted by the user
who posted the original, related videos, and other users'
comments. Below those options are links to all similar videos in
Google Video's database.
That's a lot of webmaster friendly features. The ability to post
embedded clips directly to a blog is likely one that webmasters
will begin using, much in the same way YouTube videos are
increasingly being shown on independent sites.
After listening to me rave about how ease of access to video
production and distribution is rapidly changing the way I think
about the Internet, my friends decided they would rather listen
to some more music. So far, Google Video has not disappointed
us, going three for three. For the moment, Google Video was
batting an even 1.000. We decided to give it a bit of a
challenge and look for some obscure content. "The Message" by
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
Google had it. Four for four.
That's where our luck and Google's reach seemed to end. Trying
to keep young Derek happy, we then searched for the intro theme
from the Sopranos "Woke Up This Morning", by A3. No such luck.
Google video was able to find plenty of parody versions but the
original three-minute song and accompanying video of Tony
Soprano's daily commute along the E. Jersey shore was moodily
Next we went back to the '80's trying to find Scottish pop band
Big Country (video.google.com/videosearch?q=big+country&hl=en).
While we were unable to directly experience Big Country's
synthesized bagpipes, an American cover band, Wil Wilson offered
two scratchy minutes of their version of that hook-laden melody
played with a real bagpiper.
Finding the Family Guy tribute prompted us to revisit some of
our less successful video searches on Google.com. In many cases,
videos and songs unavailable at Google Video have been posted to
YouTube though many of the song clips are overlaid with
animations created by independent users.
It is relatively easy to post videos to both Google Video and
YouTube though an account is required on both servers. With
Google Video, submitting a clip is as simple as filling out a
short, five-field form, agreeing to the terms and conditions,
and hitting the upload video button. YouTube is a bit more
complicated, asking submitters to help classify the video before
it is uploaded.
In both cases, the content creator retains rights to the clips
they submit however by agreeing to the terms and conditions set
by Google, content creators are, in effect, "... directing and
authorizing Google to, and granting Google a royalty-free,
non-exclusive right and license to, host, cache, route,
transmit, store, copy, modify, distribute, perform, display,
reformat, excerpt, facilitate the sale or rental of copies of,
analyze, and create algorithms based on the Authorized Content
in order to (i) host the Authorized Content on Google's servers,
(ii) index the Authorized Content; (iii) display, perform and
distribute the Authorized Content, in whole or in part, in the
territory(ies) designated in the Metadata Form, in connection
with Google products and services now existing or hereafter
developed, including without limitation for syndication on third
party sites; and in connection with each of the uses, if any,
of the Authorized Content authorized in the video information
page (the "Video Information Page") which will be made available
to You no sooner than at the time Google enables any of the
features designated on the Video Information Page. This
license gives Google the right to display Your Authorized
Content via streaming and/or downloading technologies, and to
display limited excerpts of Your Authorized Content for no fee
to the end user. Google may in its sole discretion display a
link or links to the website You designate (subject to Google's
approval) in the Metadata Form in connection with any display of
Your Authorized Content, and to display links to third party
commercial retailer web sites where purchases of the Authorized
Content may be available, to the extent such third party
commercial retailer web site serves as a distributor of the
The agreement appears weighted in favor of the content creator.
While Google can mess with it and use the content as real estate
for advertising delivery, the creator safely holds ownership and
future commercial rights. Aside from offering potential buyers
free material, content creators appear to have few worries about
losing control of their creations.
The availability and accessibility of video through Google Video
and YouTube is already expanding options for webmasters,
advertisers and content creators, much as MySpace offered young
bands a global exposure platform. With the easy ability to store
media files on Google or YouTube servers and embed those files
in blogs, websites and MySpace profiles, Internet users can
expect a greater visual experience as webmasters discover and
make use of tools that literally could alter the way we all view
Search marketing expert Jim Hedger is one of the most prolific
writers in the search sector with articles appearing in numerous
search related websites and newsletters, including SiteProNews,
Search Engine Journal, ISEDB.com, and Search Engine Guide.