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Thursday, March 12, 2009

SpeedCine: Search Engine for Legal Movies Online

I really like the idea behind SpeedCine, which aims to catalogue all of the movies available legally online in streaming, downloadable, or rentable form. (Anne Thompson blogged about it yesterday.)

But when I started punching in the names of some movies that were listed on sites like Hulu or iTunes, and got a "no matches found" message, I e-mailed founder Reid Rosefelt to see what was up. Were they adding movie titles by hand, or finding all the movies automatically on various movie sites, the way Google finds Web pages for its search engine?

Rosefelt replied in an e-mail:

    It’s a demo and yes, the data was put in by hand.

    ...[But] the real data input will be done one company at a time and will be automated. They’ll give us their data and it will flow in. The technology for transferring lots of data is easy; the only issue is getting the websites to agree. And I’ll be having meetings over the coming months to accomplish exactly that. When I’m convinced that enough data is in it, then the word DEMO goes down and BETA will go up.

I'm not sure you actually need permission from Hulu, say, to have your software go to this page and create links to all of the features the site currently offers. That's the sort of "spidering" that Google and many other search engines do every day.

But media sites can be strangely cranky about people creating more links and access to their content.

it'll be interesting to see how Rosefelt's plan plays out. A truly comprehensive index of all the movies available on various sites would be a great thing.

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