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All The Cool Kids Are Deep Tagging

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The popularity of rich media publishing (such as podcasting and videocasting, the YouTube phenomenon, etc.) is a problem for search engines and people trying to use search engines to find this content. The problem is that the traditional ways search engines index and rank content don’t apply to rich media because, well, it’s not easily indexable.

A few startups are focusing on creating transcriptions of podcasts and video content (see Pluggd and Podzinger, for example), which search engines can then index.

And many people are tagging audio, video and photo content. YouTube, Flickr and others allow this (and see Google’s efforts to tag photos using humans). Tags help describe the content and are usable by search engines as well as humans. But highest level tags, when they are present, don’t capture all of the content, so a lot is missed.

Figuring out how to search the meta data around rich content (tags and lots of other descriptive data) is big business. Truveo, a video search startup that launched in 2005 and was subsequently acquired by AOL for at least $50 million, helped solve this problem (but still falls woefully short of perfect). A new unlaunched startup, CastTV, takes rich media searching another few steps forward (much more on them in a later post). But even these new search companies can’t find all of the content in a video or audio file, and certainly can’t take you right to where that content is presented.

That’s why I like the idea of deep tagging. It requires human labor but for many publishers it’s worth it. Instead of simply being associated with a file, a deep tag is associated with a clip from the file. Click on the tag and jump right to that part of the clip.

We’ve covered a few companies that are facilitating deep tagging, such as MotionBox, JumpCut (acquired by Yahoo last week), Viddler and Click.tv. Also, Google recently added a captioning feature to video, as well as the ability to permanently link to any time spot in a clip.

Veotag is doing this as well (we haven’t covered them yet but a few commenters have pointed them out in the past). Today I received an email from Howard Seibel, Veotag’s VP Marketing. He pointed me to this page which is a better version of a TalkCrunch podcast I recorded last week with Om Malik and Robert Scoble. He’s added deep tagging, so listeners can jump right to certain parts of the show.

I like the fact that I can embed the Veotag player right into the TalkCrunch website, and people who listen to the podcast on the site can utilize the deep tags (right now we have a simple Flash player). I’m having our trusty analyst Nick Gonzalez look into integrating Veotag into TalkCrunch sometime soon. If you know of other startups addressing deep tagging, please let us know.

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