'Tube Googling' Takes Off


Tube Googling?

Yep. Search engine Google wants to be the Web's answer to TV Guide. The company has launched a new service, Google Video, that will allow users to search the closed captioning content of TV shows. Those currently include PBS, Fox News, NBA, and C-SPAN, with more being added as it continues to index TV content, a project it began in December 2004.

Google's broader goal is to make virtually all print and video content worldwide searchable on the Web. A process that will take many years and a lot of scanners.

A beta test of Google Video at www.google.com/video allows surfers to enter a query, "Desperate Housewives," for instance, and find a list of still images (none available for this show yet), accompanies various references to the show, including a Golden Globes appearance on NBC, the ABC Sunday night airing on ABC, and various entertainment magagzine stories, including one on a local L.A. station.

In addition, the service provides upcoming airdates for the programs, plus channel, date and time.

"NBA fans are tech-savvy early adopters," said NBA Commissioner David Stern in a statement. "With our partnership with Google on the pioneering Google Video service, we enhance our ability to meet the needs of NBA fans, delivering to them content and information in a new and innovative way."

For the moment, Google is pitching the service to broadcasters and content providers as essentially a program guide rather than an advertising opportunity. "For television channels and content producers, Google Video can increase viewership by providing Google users with information on future airings of relevant programs," said the company Tuesday.

The service does not yet include a video playback function or the AdWords service now available for online searches, in which advertisers choose keywords and pay to have their ads appear when those words are searched for.

Yahoo has its own recently launched TV search engine. Its search results provide links to full video.