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Obama said what? Find it on YouTube

By Yi-Wyn Yen

Last Thursday, Barack Obama mentioned Fortune magazine during his acceptance speech as the Democratic presidential candidate. But how would you find that on the Web? Search engines today aren’t powerful enough to scour through millions of online video clips to help users find exactly what they’re looking for.

YouTube (GOOG) is attempting to make online videos a lot more searchable. The company is experimenting with speech recognition software to analyze what is said during video and audio files and turn it into text. Currently the test only works for political videos uploaded to the video-sharing site, but the goal eventually is to make all video clips more accessible on Google’s homepage. “We still have a long way to go. We believe that speech-recognition technology will be a particularly useful tool for our politically involved community,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Speech-to-text development for online video has been rapidly developing in the past six months. Video search companies like Blinkx, Everyzing, and AOL’s Truveo (TWX) currently use speech recognition software to archive files, and in turn that helps major search engines like Google and Yahoo (YHOO)to provide better results. Engines typically have to guess

are providing more relevant results for  video searches that don’t rely solely on tags or headlines that are used to identify the content.

Google has been working on speech recognition technology for awhile. A year ago, the company launched GOOG-411, a free phone service for users to find local businesses through speech-to-text software. Google’s research team is now using similar technology with its Elections Video Search Gadget, which it rolled out in mid-July.

For instance, you can type in the keyword “Fortune” to find out which video and at what moment Obama used that word. Clicking on a video and rolling over a yellow place marker will highlight the phrase “the profits of the Fortune five hundred” and queue the clip to the spot where the word is used. Users are required to add the widget to iGoogle, an individualized Google homepage, in order to use it.

New technology


Web pages need at least 250 words for search engines to process the information and appear on a site.

which was one of the highest rated search terms for the month of August