Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Google to experiment with video blogging

Google To Host Home-Video Uploads


Yet-unnamed service that will allow users to upload video to Google's site to debut later this week, according to company founders.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Move over blogging -- here comes Internet-based home video, to a Google server near you.

While there's no formal announcement yet, Google co-founder Larry Page said Monday that the well-known search engine concern would soon let the general public upload self-produced videos to Google's servers, partly in an effort to learn more about how to more efficiently search and display information about video-based data.

"It's an experiment we want to run," said Page of the video-uploading service, which he said the company will formally announce "in the next few days." Page made the non-announcement announcement during Monday's opening panel discussion at the National Cable & Telecommunications Show here, upstaging his luminary fellow panelists John Chambers of Cisco, Brian Roberts of Comcast, Jon Miller of AOL and Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks.

The news did fit into the main theme of the panel's discussion, which was how video-enabled material will change the face of communications, sooner rather than later. Cisco's Chambers said just video's data needs will require new kinds of network thinking, since "one half hour of video [traffic] is equal to a half a year of email."

But Google's video-upload plans were clearly the buzz of the morning, and in typical Google spirit of launching things in beta form, the idea seems to not be fully baked. Page even said Google wasn't sure what types of material Google would receive, which drew a quick rejoinder from Katzenberg, who said, "I can tell you what you're going to get," drawing laughter from the audience.

Other panelists confirmed that interest in the ability to search for video data wasn't Google's alone. According to Roberts, Comcast customers placed 80 million orders for video on demand services in January, up from 20 million VOD orders in January 2004. Comcast, he said, has also delivered more than 40 million short-form video clips to users of the company's Web site. Being able to search for programming, he said, is driving Comcast to develop user interfaces "with the simplicity of Google."

Google, which already offers the Picasa service for storing and sharing digital photos and the Blogger service for blogs, wants to learn how to better sort and search video to improve the user interface for finding video data, Page said.

"It's still a long way [today] from an ideal experience," he said.

Page said Google is also "working hard" with service providers and other content owners to provide legal ways for users to share, buy and download video data. While the Internet has "done a great job letting anyone be a publisher," Page noted that video is harder to produce and distribute as cheaply as text or photos.

"There are a lot of things we can do [on the server end] to help that," Page said.

Page also said he wasn't overly concerned about what might happen if Katzenberg's quip came true, and users uploaded objectionable or pornographic material to the video service.

"There's lots of technology you can use to deal with those issues," Page said. "There might be an adult section, or something like that. I don't think that is going to be a big issue."


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