A UK company has launched what it claims to be the first search engine that lets you not only search for specific moments within a video, but click on and interact with moving objects during online playback. Coull.tv has adopted a community approach, which we thoroughly approve of here at DaniWeb, that brings true user-generated interactivity to video footage.
OK, so video search itself is nothing new, the likes of Blinkx and Google Video have long since offered video searching, not to mention YouTube of course. The difference being that these engines find the complete video clip containing your search term, coull.tv takes you straight to the relevant segment of that video to playback just the footage you were looking for.
Or at least it would if there were more content available. Unlike the other players in video search coull.tv does not trawl the Web looking for content from disparate sources, but rather is more of a YouTube competitor in that it only searches amongst the content that its community has uploaded to share with others. To put this into some perspective, I did a search for Bush and Borat at coull.tv and found only 6 and 4 hits respectively, compare and contrast with Blinkx (3000, 812), Google Video (5668, 469) and perhaps most strikingly YouTube (36478, 5052) considering the similarities in service concept.
There is potential here for brand owners and marketers for sure, as the system allows viewers to watch a video and then click on some moving object within it to be linked directly to the specific micro-site or product page. Mixing contextualized advertising with on request marketing, and doing away with the need to either pre-roll or post-roll that content and by so doing spoil the viewing experience, has to be a good thing. But again, this relies completely on momentum and only time will tell if coull.tv can shake enough people out of the YouTube tree to make it work. I hope it does, because the technology is cool and interesting, although I suspect it won’t be long until it is either licensed to other video sites or a similar system engineered to provide the same functionality.
The technology concerned being the ‘video activator’ which is a freely downloadable piece of software that enables you to highlight objects (people, places, things) within your video and tag them with keywords and phrases, link them to specific URLs, and then upload the newly interactive video to coull.tv free of any hosting or streaming charges. The community aspect kicks in because all these video objects can be edited and enhanced by members in order to deliver fully contextual and relevant video searching no matter what the culture or language of the user. Of course, they can also comment upon specific parts of a video, rate, bookmark and share them. If there were anything there to share, that is.
So is this the end of YouTube? Nah, not by a long shot. But it might just be the start of something...