Clicker Wants To Be Your Web TV Search Engine – They’re Mine

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Clicker is an online video discovery service—essentially a TV Guide for finding video programming online.  Today they announced that they’d closed another round of financing ($11 Million), which speaks pretty highly of what the VC community thinks of their chances.

I hadn’t heard of the service until a few months ago.  My family decided to go cable-free for a while, both to save money and to promote other activities in our household, and I stumbled across Clicker while searching for a better way to find my favorite shows online.  It’s frustrating to go from site to site running queries for a particular program or episode, because it can take a surprisingly long time to actually find it.  I used to start with Hulu, and if I couldn’t find the program I wanted there, I’d go to the network’s own website and search for it.  Time gets away from you pretty fast using this method, and before you’ve found the program you want to watch, you’ve spent as much time searching as you will watching.

Clicker changed all that for me.

The company doesn’t host any actual video on their site, instead focusing on indexing video content across the web and delivering an accurate search experience to the user.  You can search by the title of a specific show, or more generally by topic if you’re not sure of the title.

A simple search for my favorite show, Lost, reveals a host of options.  The first thing you’ll notice are some brief stats:  there are apparently 129 episodes of Lost available online for free, with another 86 available for purchase.

Below that first listing for Lost, you’ll see a host of other content either about the show or simply containing the word “lost” in the title or topic.  For instance, the now-famous “Lost – Answers?”  song parody from The Fine Brothers is included, as is a History Channel special about the “lost” science of the Bible.

The Fine Brothers listing illustrates that it’s not just network programming being indexed by Clicker.  In fact, Clicker indexes television shows, movies, music videos, and original web content.  You can search “doritos” to find places where you can watch the snack company’s latest round of Super Bowl commercials.  You can search “muppets” to find either your favorite Muppets feature film or the latest viral hit from Kermit and the gang.  In preparation for this article, it was quite difficult for me to come up with a piece of content that I couldn’t find on Clicker.

Clicker has streamlined my online video discovery process in much the same way that Netvibes reinvented the way I browse my favorite sites.

The service is free to use, but you can also register an official account for some added features like creating playlists and marking favorites.

A feature that may be of particular interest to our readers here at is the ability for content creators to submit their programming for inclusion in the Clicker directory.

Who knows how long this business model will be sustainable, considering that search engines are getting better and better about serving up video-related results that are incredibly accurate.  And yet, an engine like Google will still only serve me a results page for a video query on “lost,” which I’ll then need to scroll through… video by video… to find the episode I’m looking for.  Clicker’s results are displayed in a much more intuitive and helpful manner when you’re seeking a particular episode of a television show.  Seems like it would only be a matter of time, though, before Google rolls out something similar—more of a guide than a simple results list for video queries.

In the meantime, I’m using Clicker and enjoying its service immensely.  Without a cable television package, it’s invaluable to me to be able to quickly find the program I’m in the mood for instead of wasting my whole evening scanning the video portals one by one.


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