Digitalsmiths, the video distribution and analysis platform that powers TheWB.com, TMZ, and a number of other popular sites, is rolling out a new product suite today dubbed VideoSense 2.0. The new suite includes a number of features that will make it more appealing to content owners looking to distribute video across the web, but the most interesting new feature for consumers will be the platform’s revamped video search, which can best be described as a “Google for video”.
Granted, there already is a Google video search, but this goes well beyond that, allowing users to search for any actor, scene, or piece of dialog they’d like across shows in the Digitalsmiths library. Digitalsmiths has spent years building the technology to perform speech recognition and visually match actors’ faces and environmental elements (it can tell if a scene is taking at a beach or on a mountainside), and it’s quite impressive.
Before now the search has been available on a limited scale, but users would have to first fine tune their queries using a number of drop-down menus, specifying which show they’d like to search through and choosing from a number of other options (these helped speed searches up by limiting the content the engine would have to look through). Now Digitalsmiths has refined the technology to the point that it can offer a Google-like search bar, with the engine able to automatically detect if a search term refers to a character or actor name, a location, or perhaps the name of a show. If, for example, I typed in “Seth Cohen Bagel The OC”, the engine would serve up video clips of the character Seth Cohen talking about bagels in the show, The OC.
Unfortunately, while its search functionality is much improved, it’s being held up to some extent by the content owners. In theory Digitalsmiths could put together an engine that searched through all of its content at once, which really would make it akin to an extremely powerful Google for video. But the content owners have not agreed to enable that functionality, so for now all searches will be be constrained to partner sites and widgets (e.g. you’ll have to head to TheWB.com if you want to search through its shows). Hopefully the content owners will have a change of heart, as this kind of universal search could prove immensely useful.
The new product suite includes a handful of products that will appeal to content owners, including a new Asset Manager, which handles things like video ingestion, storage, and processing, and Publisher, which allows content owners to schedule when their content will be posted.