Saturday, October 18, 2008


More cool—a video search engine

by Larry Geller

If I want to find videos of Sarah Palin to post on the blog, it’s pretty easy. So why would I need a new video search engine? The only problem with Palin is how do I know I have the actual Palin and not her stand-in, Tina Fey. But I digress.

I tried this new search engine, VideoSurf. Of course, it is spelled with a capital letter in the middle, that’s a basic requirement of coolness. Is there something else cool about this one though? It’s supposed to match faces.

Instead of typing Sarah Palin, which could be a setup, what could I type… I know, I’ll try Linda Lingle. Yikes! It found her! A blogger’s dream.

I tried Randy Iwase (you remember him?) but it found nothing. No surprise.

It has Daniel Inouye, Neil Abercrombie and Daniel Akaka, but not Mazie Hirono. Maybe she lacks seniority.

Need videos of Mufi? It has him, but not yet Ann Kobayashi. Actually, it didn’t have too many of the Hawaii names I typed in. They say they’re adding more videos, though, and the video has to be on one of the sites they index.

Here is part of their FAQ:

What is VideoSurf?

VideoSurf is new kind of video search engine that's creating a better way for you to search, discover and watch online videos. Using patent-pending computer vision algorithms that can actually see the video's content, VideoSurf serves up more relevant results for your queries and offers a new, visual way for you to interact with the video set returned. You can refine your results based on the people who actually appear in the videos and pinpoint the specific moments you're interested in watching or sharing with your friends. It's video search that really works, and although the math behind it is mind-bendingly complex, we hope the experience itself is easy to use and fun.

I even tried it to find the video of Linda Lingle on Fox News, and it came up right away.

Somehow the fact that they can do this with software is something I find amazing and more than a little scary.

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