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I came across an article about Google using Goog411 in order to develop a strong speech to text algorithm in order to make YouTube videos searchable. This was in lieu of a comment Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer had made about Google's mobile phone project, Android.

The Microsoft issue aside, I felt that while the article was interesting, there wasn't much to be considered fruitful in YouTube. Maybe I'm wrong, but while the web is filled with junk and the occasional diamond in the rough - and a strong search engine allows us to find those diamonds with greater ease, videos are largely junk. It's TV on the web, basically. Sure there are the occasional interesting videos, and important things to be shared - like the many speeches, flubs and gaffs during the presidential race, but these are quite searchable. I see little in Google investing a lot of time for the sole reason of making YouTube more searchable.

The original article, Google Shows Microsoft How to Connect the Dots can be found here:

Here's my response...

Your article is pretty interesting, though your Balmer quote is a bit of a stray dot, left unconnected. Balmer's speaking of Android... not Goog411. Unless Android uses a similar iPhone app to the one you mentioned, they can't really use Android for any such purpose. They can't record our conversations, and stream them off to the Google servers, say.

Another thing here is the fact that audio is only 50% of movies... and when it comes YouTube videos, sometimes it's -20% when you consider the amount of teenagers who need to put together clips of their favorite actor/singer/movie scene, and put a Linkin Park track over top of it. Audio is pretty unreliable in telling what the video is.

Or even say those prank videos that are 90% buildup to a 10% let down prank.

Or even just say a video that either has an altogether different audio track, or no audio track at all.

I'm sure Google's taken all of this into account, and realized that the accuracy and reliability of the returned results would be next to nil - unless you limited your dataset to extremely reliable videos. This isn't like searching websites that has a number of reliable factors that can be used to determine relevance - and even with web search, there's still people working around them. Because there are so few reliable measures, not to mention there is little to be gained from searching the content of the videos, I just don't see Google taking the direction you suggest.

Not to mention that YouTube has since lost a lot of ground to competitors - while it's still what most turn to, sites like Hulu which legally displays HD videos of tv shows, have gained a lot of ground. YouTube is also plagued with infringement issues, with the millions of videos using unlicensed music.

I'm taking a long time to get to my point, so I'll just get to it now. YouTube was an investment. It wasn't a bad investment, but it's left to be determined whether it will be a *good* investment. It may very well be, but for now I think Google is coming up with new dots to connect YouTube with, in hopes of making it a fruitful investment.

My take on it? If you ask any connect-the-dot maker, it's often best to have a bigger picture in mind, before you start plotting dots that are to be connected.



There's so many predictions on why Youtube bought Google (I personally have my own) but I think the one reason everyone can agree on is that Google bought YouTube simply because YouTube was becoming a big name and Google could do it. YouTube's content was rising in both users and user submissions, and when something looks promising why not take the gamble to see if it goes anywhere? No one knows why Facebook really wanted to buy Twitter, or why MSN wants Yahoo or Yahoo wanted Flickr... other than buying over a ton of users. But the gamble for YouTube paid off in the fact that Youtube is still growing in users.. users that may not have ever registered for Google-Accounts. I think a sign that it doesn't pay off is when Yahoo bought Webjay, and then asked Webjay users to come to Yahoo.. leaving the site to die and a users split into either joining Yahoo or some other competitor.

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