Google and Yahoo now search TV programs

Using closed captioning data, new services from the major search engines allow users to search through video programs based on words spoken on the air

Google and Yahoo have introduced services that will let users search through television programs based on words spoken on the air. The services look for keywords in the closed captioning information that is encoded in many programs.

Google’s service, called Google Video and introduced last week, does not actually permit people to watch the video on their computers. Instead, it presents them with short excerpts of program transcripts with text matching their search queries and a single image from the program. Google records TV programs for use in the service.

Last year, Yahoo introduced a test version of a different sort of video search. It let users comb through video clips from various Web sites. Last week, Yahoo moved the video search to its home page. In the next few weeks, it will introduce the ability to search the closed-captioning text for programs from some networks, including Bloomberg and the BBC. Unlike the Google service, Yahoo’s offering will let users watch 60-second video clips.

Google Video enables users to search the content of television programs from TV content providers including ABC, PBS, the NBA, Fox News, and C-SPAN, among others.

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