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Video Tagging Gets Cool

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 19, 2006

We’ve all tagged photos on Flickr. Next up, we’ll be increasingly tagging videos in new and innovative ways. I’ve seen two interesting announcements on this recently. On Sept. 14, ComVu, which hosts people’s mobile video blogs, unveiled its automated geotagging software that automatically records the location a cell phone video was taken at. The feature will allow for dynamic mapping: Say, you want to see what’s been happening at Times Square lately. You might go to a video sharing site and, using tags, do just that.

The other cool video tagging announcement comes from Motionbox, a personal video sharing site that appears to be similar to YouTube. The outfit just introduced its deep video tagging feature, allowing users to tag favorite parts of a video so that they and others can jump directly to those parts. This feature is going to become increasingly valuable as personal videos, taken by camcorders and cell phones, get longer.

As digital video takes the market by storm, it’s these kinds of capabilities that will change the face of video search. Today’s video search tends to be cumbersome and ineffective. Users of most video sites, like YouTube and Google Video, end up simply checking out the videos other users liked: the top-10 list. Tagging could change that and allow for better contextual searches.

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Reader Comments

Shel Holtz

September 20, 2006 11:46 AM

Click.TV has allowed you to tag and jump directly to parts of a video since it was introduced several months ago.


September 20, 2006 04:07 PM

YouTube and Google Video are a joke! Even with a new way to search (such as tagging), these sites will eventually disappear. - In the future we won't be searching, by using "words." The online world of today, teems with text, still images, and silly videos. It's a flat surface, instead of a 3-D picture plane. - In the distant future, our 3-dimensional butlers will doing our searches.

Drew Lanham

September 25, 2006 02:19 PM

ComVu’s method of using automated tagging based on location adds real value. End user tagging of video is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t solve the problem of Folksonomy, i.e., inconsistent word choice, spelling differences, etc. End user tagging also can’t help users navigate long form content (where lots of things might happen - and be tagworthy - as opposed to a short video clip).

ClickTV does a nice job of integrating tags from multiple sources into their experience, but this doesn’t solve issues of discovering or navigating content not currently tagged. The lack of tagging by end users will be especially noticeable in content that isn’t in the “most popular” lists or content that is very current (news, sports, etc.).

In my experience (at Yahoo! and now Nexidia) tagging is just one way to tackle this issue; there are other methods of deep video search currently available. Broadcast news, for example, is one area in particular where content owners are experimenting with phonetic search to enrich the online media experience.

Rick Grant

November 28, 2007 12:19 PM

Check out Viddler as well. Tagging links to Google Adsense for revenue share. In addition, users can tag video to make their own VH1-like pop-up videos.

Matthew O'Connor

November 30, 2007 11:10 AM

There is a growing emphasis on these avenues with video as a search tool in this blog, to enrich the online media experience.

What we've been working on with to personalise this is a piece of software called YourView, giving the desktop user control over their video by video tagging with icons. The nature of the "tags" here, are icons that you can create yourself.

So importing home or in fact any digital video of any length, then allows the user to tag their video, search and watch instantly within the video on the YourView player, and share to YouTube, MySpace, Apple TV via email, or export to iPhone. The program also allows slick, fast import into iMovie.

Tagging with icons gives you greater control and universal understanding about the nature of your clip- an icon of a kiss tells anyone just about everything they need to know about the clip content, say.

Anyone interested in video tagging and content control should check it out at


Mike Campbell

March 25, 2009 11:16 AM

This is a neat idea but iconography is such a difficult practice. Designing icons where their meanings are universally agreed upon is a extremely difficult process at best. Being able to create a broad enough and rich enough icon set for tagging that everyone would easily recognize will be difficult.

good luck.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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