Major Google Video Changes Meet With Mixed Reviews

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On April 14th Google announced, via their blog, that they would no longer support video uploads to Google Video but that it would continue to be a place for people to find videos (Google Blog), Changes have since been implemented at the video search page and have met with mixed reviews from the userbase.

The Google Blog stated:

Anyone can easily search for videos from all over the web using Google Video. Finding things is the heart of what Web Search is all about so we’re gladly taking Google Video under our wings .

This should really come as no surprise since Google Video Announced that this change would happen way back in late January at the Official Google Video Blog:

Last week, we announced that we’re turning down uploads to Google Video, and refocusing our attention on building a more comprehensive video search engine (in case you’re wondering, Google Video search algorithms power YouTube as well as “universal search” from Google.com). We want to make it possible for people searching Google.com or Google Video to find any video, at any time, from any site. But indexing video presents some unique challenges, and if you have videos on your site, you’re probably wondering how to make sure your videos are discoverable through Google.

This was posted January 20th and continued on with directions on how to get your videos listed on Google Video.

While videos can no longer be uploaded to Google Video they do state that Google will still offer hosting services. Your Google account will enable you to upload videos to Picasa and YouTube. (from their help page).

Now this has some people upset. Over at Google Operating System, An unofficial blog that watches Google’s attempts to move your operating system online, they complain about wasted space, smaller video player and stated that “the results dominate the page.”

Wait a stitch, it IS a search engine right? The whole point is that search results lead people to the sites that host and publish relevant content. The problem with Google Video, as far as I’m concerned, was that it was attempting to be a video aggregation site and not in fact a video search engine. Now I think they are on the right track with the service. The search results dominate the page, as search results should on a search engine. In fact displaying ads as search results always seemed questionable to me since paying for placement does not dictate the best or most relevant content.

Doing a quick search on “Wolverine” gave a Google standard amount of results and the most relevant showed up in the right side video pane – X-Men Origins: Wolverine Trailer. Of course it showed up from YouTube first which leads me to believe that the results are still skewed towards Google’s own service over all others.

The search results now take up a full 60-70% of the search page which is great. The video player is smaller but can still be expanded to full screen (depending on the site and player) and the video player is always visible so you needn’t scroll back up to view the video if you happen to be at the bottom of the page.

Users are upset mostly with the smaller player stating that videos outside of YouTube do not fit the player (widescreen versus 4:3 I’m guessing). Others have mentioned that “there is no way to rate videos” but again Google Video is a search engine, not a social network, not a video sharing site. It’s main purpose should, and now seems to be, finding videos and sending you on to the site in question.

Overall, I for one welcome the changes. Sure it was nice to just run to Google Video and check out something but from a content publisher standpoint, this is what a Google video search engine should be. Find the results, point to them and then send the user on to the content. Imagine what Google Web Search would have been like if it just showed all the content on the search results page never sending users on to the publishers of that content…it would have bordered on Copyright infringement and I imagine that might have been part of why this change was made at Google Video. Pressure from certain quarters might have helped them make the change. Money could have been an answer as well since YouTube is set to start accepting advertisements on videos there. I think by splitting the video hosting out to YouTube and making Google Video just video search engine focused was an excellent step in the right direction.

Well done Google, well done.

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