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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

From the Google-plex: Video now included on main search page

I spent the morning down in Mountain View, at Google headquarters, where the company was holding a press event called Search-ology. I wasn't expecting much news, until Google VP Marissa Mayer unveiled Google's new "universal search," which integrates video (and books, and news, and lots of other stuff) into the site's primary search interface. As a result, I wrote a short piece about the event for Variety.

What's the impact? This, over time, will be a big deal.

Right now, there seem to be only a few video sites included in Google's search index, along with YouTube and Google Video. Metacafe is there, as is Atom Films. I asked Mayer which other sites were included, but she didn't know, and neither did a couple of Google PR people who were in attendance.

But over time, as Google indexes more of the video across the Internet (and Mayer did say the company intends to present every piece of video it discovers), it is going to be delivering millions of new viewers to all sorts of video sites. Make no mistake: this is a big bang for online video, maybe even bigger than Google's acquisition of YouTube last year. Google is the most popular Web site in the world, with more than half a billion unique visitors every month.

One interesting note, which I mention in my story: Google isn't yet integrating video from major network sites (Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC) in its search results. I didn't notice that until I'd left the Google-plex, so I couldn't ask anyone there about it. Is there a concern about wading into another lawsuit, or is Google just working with sites right now that it knows will be happy to get the traffic? What's your theory?

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