Gotuit: Video Search, and its Implications
A couple of weeks ago I had breakfast with Patrick Donovan, and old colleague from when we worked together in the early 90's at a Lexington, MA consulting and software development firm called Symmetrix. These days Patrick is VP of Product Development at Gotuit Media. Gotuit provides technology that allows users to "deep-tag" a slice of a video they look at on sites like YouTube and Metacafe.
Here's a slice I made of a four-minute video on YouTube about the BT around the world sailing race. I wanted to highlight what I thought was one of the more "that's gotta hurt!" moments in a video otherwise full of them:
Here's the url for this slice on Gotuit: http://www.gotuit.com/player/index.html?c=SM_Entertainment&t=8503&s=59028
Gotuit doesn't actually rip and store video itself; rather, it's an interface through which you create a data layer (on Gotuit) that identifies and describes (with title, tags, and a free-form text field) slices of videos hosted elsewhere. Gotuit provides a browser toolbar with buttons that make it easy to quickly deep-tag a slice of a video and then share it via embedding or a hyperlink in a blog or other web page, or by simply emailing it to one or more friends.
So what? Search is already a killer app on the web. Video is exploding on the web. Ergo, search for video will be huge. Since video (and audio) is consumed linearly, meaning you can't browse it the way you can browse text, simply tagging and otherwise describing a source file on YouTube or somewhere else is only partially helpful to getting you to what you're looking for and helping you consume it efficiently. Being able to deep-tag slices becomes really useful particularly for form factors and contexts -- like mobile -- where efficient use of limited resources (time, bandwidth, and memory) are more important.
It doesn't stop there. Of course, if you can tag inside a video, and you can sell ads against tags, you can advertise inside a video, in a highly targeted way. And if you can tag inside a video, you can also string together slices to create what we used to call "highlight reels", but now would call "tag-dimensional mashups" I guess, allowing "omni-directional re-purposing" of content. Videos of NFL games could be sliced and mashed up to create "best touchdowns", "hardest hits", "ugliest players" series. Again, particularly interesting for mobile applications and contexts.
While I'm not sure that Gotuit in its current business model incarnation (today's separate service vs. a licensed, embedded capability in major video sites) or UI expression has reached its final stage, this is a really interesting company, and Patrick is a very smart guy. Check them out.