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Over/Understatement

January 27th, 2005 - 12:14 am

It’s been said that every little tiny new bit of human thought since about 1996 has been reproduced on the internet. Obviously, that’s an overstatement.

Until maybe now:

Those folks at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) just keep churning out new applications. Yesterday it was Google Video, which allows users to search the Internet for content of a number of television shows by using the show’s closed-captioning information. “What Google did for the Web,” Google founder Larry Page said in a press release, “Google Video aims to do for television.”

To say that this service is in beta mode might be an understatement — even for the company with the understated, plain-white-background home page. For the moment, the number of TV providers the company currently indexes is limited — PBS, the NBA, Fox (NYSE: FOX) News, and C-SPAN got top billing in the press release. And Google has been indexing TV data since only last month. (Meanwhile, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) has added a search to its front page that lets you search and inspect video clips.)

But the possibilities for Google are nonetheless impressive. Among the highlights the company listed: program previews using still images, information about upcoming airings, and keyword searches within specific programs. This all has the potential to be of great interest to paying broadcasters who are looking for new ways to raise awareness of their programming.

If everything on TV from Meet the Press to Queer Eye will soon be Google-able, it won’t be long until everything, period, is on some search engine somewhere.

Frankly, I don’t know whether to be shaken or excited or both.

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