There’s always been a tension in search between organizing information for users and getting out of the way so they can get to that information as quickly as possible. With text links, getting people to the correct page as fast as possible usually produces the best experience. But when it comes to video, which is a self-contained form of information, a better search experience is to be able to play the video right in results. Otherwise, in addition to clicking back and forth until you find the video you want, you are also adding the delay of playing the video.
Video search sites like Blinkx and Google Video (yes, that is still around) figured this out ages ago. And Bing’s video search lets you play a video simply by hovering over the thumbnail, or you can click to enlarge for a more satisfying viewing experience.
Even Yahoo is getting with the program. Today it spruced up inline viewing in video search, something which it’s had for a year, but only with a small video player. Now for most videos, you can click play, and it opens up a large rectangle with a slightly larger player inside. It will also sometimes offer thumbnails of related videos inside that rectangle so that you can continue exploring and drilling down on a video-by-video basis.
None of this going to change the fact that 90 percent of you will continue to search on YouTube when you are looking for a video on the Web.