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AOL Buys Multimedia Search Engine SingingFish
Corners "Cutting Edge" Multimedia Search Market
martinibuster




msg:462807
 4:25 am on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

By buying Singingfish, AOL becomes the leader in cutting-edge audio and video searches. It might next introduce a service that enables paid downloading of video files, such as movies or music videos. "This could be the prelude to AOL offering a multimedia download service," Sherman says.

From USA Today [usatoday.com].

 

4crests




msg:462808
 4:31 am on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

"WILL ACQUIRE"

I assume that this is not a done deal, but must be pretty well done though if they are announcing it. Interesting.

I like Singingfish. Cool site.

I wonder if anyone with music related sites has had any luck with their new Paid Inclusion advertising.

WyrdoManx




msg:462809
 10:49 am on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Story from [seattletimes.nwsource.com...]

AOL buys multimedia SingingFish search engine.

Okay. I see the logic there. Multimedia searches will be a big thing in a year or so. But why AOL? Their troubles are legion, I think the one of the few deals giving them a boost these days is their Adsense partnership with Google.

If you were AOL, if Adsense was an important vein of lifeblood, would you think of "cheating on Google"?

Or am I being too paranoid?

Okay. For sure speculation (and a good thing I'm not supposed to be a disinterested reporter here) I go back to my observation that AOL proxies turn up as visitors to my hobby site whenever there's a deep Googlebot crawl.

Perhaps it's not only T-Online who is thinking about buying AOL. Perhaps AOL is trying to make itself look more attractive.

NFFC




msg:462810
 10:53 am on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

As Mike_Mackin said, when you are selling a car you give it a bit of a polish.

The rumours that AOL is up for sale keep resurfacing, latest has Deutsche Telekom as the buyer.

Brett_Tabke




msg:462811
 3:07 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)
Nice article by ds about all the changes:
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3110961

I'm rather surprised that AOL could see [i]the fish[/i] for it's long term value.

HughMungus




msg:462812
 3:38 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Multimedia searches will be a big thing in a year or so.

Doubtful. It hasn't been in high demand for years and I doubt it ever will be. People don't go looking for audio and video content they can find in text form more easily. AOL is really going in the wrong direction with this emphasis on multimedia in order to attract and retain users, particularly broadband users. They should be focusing on their core competencies which are what they've been doing forever -- ISP, chat, email, community, etc.

jimbeetle




msg:462813
 3:39 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Very good analysis by Danny, especially stressing that AOL Search is built for AOL members. This is where SingingFish is a perfect fit for its audience.

<off-topic>Be sure to read down to the bottom of the article and Sullivan's discussion about the "Invisible Tabs Metaphor" and Jeeves inteligent implemenation. The AJ/Teoma technology is overlooked by webmasters and users. (And seemingly the company since they shy away from telling people about it.)</off-topic>

msgraph




msg:462814
 3:42 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Funny that this comes out at about the same time..

Time Warner seen getting music offer [cbs.marketwatch.com]

Chndru




msg:462815
 3:46 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

What about the copyright concerns of audio music files? How different it is from kazaa etal?

WyrdoManx




msg:462816
 4:03 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

We're merged now, a single thread, drama over.

I'm still curious to what AOL saw in the SingingFish though?

Mind you. When AOL and Time Warner joined together in the first place the plan was for an Internet media empire, where Time Warner would provide rich media movies and music through AOL's pipelines. That didn't really happen, but adding a multi media search engine to the portfolio is a step in the right direction.

yintercept




msg:462817
 4:16 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

What about the copyright concerns of audio music files? How different it is from kazaa et al?

Copyright issues for multimedia searches are more akin to the copyright issues for Google than for kazaa. The search engines help users find the site and generally only display a small piece of a given work.

Multimedia does poses challenges. For example, SingingFish relies completely its spider. I know several artist with the same problem. They want to publish their music online, but the hungry little spiders download the files so much that the spiders alone max the site's bandwidth.

Personally, I think the best way to handle such searches would be for an industry standard way to describe media files with text. That would save the massive amounts of bandwidth consumed by multimedia spiders.

WyrdoManx




msg:462818
 4:22 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think the multimedia search results are a little different from the text results.

The text results show a snippet from the page. There's just enough to help you decide whether you want to click on the link but not enough to exceed the "fair use" of a quote.

Multimedia results which show a picture, even a squished down and shrunk picture, are showing the whole picture. Showing the whole picture can't be the same as quoting a small sample.

Here's something to think about? What if a popular search engine showed these image summaries by hotlinking the images? Ouch. If you had an image which turned up often for popular searches then your bandwidth could go boom.

hlbuss




msg:462819
 6:49 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Personally, I think the best way to handle such searches would be for an industry standard way to describe media files with text. That would save the massive amounts of bandwidth consumed by multimedia spiders.

This was tried with meta description and keyword tags. We all know what happened there. To accurately display results in this fashion, you'd need a bunch of support personnel to uphold the standard. Then these people would have to download the files anyway to determine relevance, thus eating up bandwidth.

Perhaps some sort of multimedia standard for limited spidering....

HughMungus




msg:462820
 7:30 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

When AOL and Time Warner joined together in the first place the plan was for an Internet media empire, where Time Warner would provide rich media movies and music through AOL's pipelines. That didn't really happen, but adding a multi media search engine to the portfolio is a step in the right direction.

A step in the right direction towards what?

michael heraghty




msg:462821
 8:42 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Multimedia searching may well increase in tandem with growing broadband penetration -- but the overriding use of such engines will, for the foreseeable future, be porn searches.

Maybe someday when TV and the internet form a closer relationship, mm searches will be in demand ... but can't see that happening in the near future.

WyrdoManx




msg:462822
 8:48 am on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

A step in the right direction towards what?

Towards having integrating large amounts of multimedia into the AOL channel.

HughMungus




msg:462823
 3:55 pm on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

That's what I thought you meant. Unfortunately, I don't think the demand is there and I don't think it ever will be. The audio content people want to find most is either available in easier-to-use formats (radio) or is music which would be a waste of time indexing for search. The video content people want to see is either readily available in another format (TV) or is not hosted and indexed by the major internet companies or is readily available through existing channels (yahoo news, national network websites). Besides, the value of audio and video content is based on its timeliness and its value expires quickly, making creating and indexing information such as news a lot of work for a very short-term gain. I mean, when was the last time you were listening to radio or watching TV and thought, "Gee I wish I could hear that comment by so and so again." You don't need to hear or see it, you just want to know what the comment was and text is just fine for that and if someone said it in audio or video, it's usually repeated in text somewhere.

Which leads to another point which is that what would be way more powerful and useful is text indices of multimedia content such that I could do a search for something that someone said and read the transcript instead of having to sit through the audio or video to find what I want to find. That's super labor-intensive, too, but as speech recognition gets better, it might become a reality.

I do think there are some great applications for audio and video on the web and that it's very powerful (or I wouldn't be wasting my time with my own projects). But being able to find this or that audio or video and being able to play it is not that valuable right now.

martinibuster




msg:462824
 4:28 pm on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

When AOL and Time Warner joined together in the first place the plan was for an Internet media empire, ...adding a multi media search engine to the portfolio is a step in the right direction.

This has nothing to do with creating a multimedia empire. TimeWarner discontinued that strategy months ago.

As MSGraph pointed out above, TimeWarner is desperately trying to sell their music division [nytimes.com] in order to cut $24 Billon in debt. So it's not creating a media empire. If anything, AOL is making a good move to keep it's constituents by hopping on the music bandwagon.

AOL controls a major share of the Hispanic market by focusing on delivering relevant content to them (soccer, latin american news, etc). AOL is pursuing the same strategy here, regarding the music. It's what AOL does best.

c3oc3o




msg:462825
 3:41 am on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I love Singingfish and use it quite frequently to find music videos, streaming versions of music to recommend to friends etc... they are really the only good engine at that.
I hope AOL don't change much.. but I fear for the worst :(

tygerwoodz




msg:462826
 11:47 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

SF is definitely not the best A/V search out there - and this isn't that hard of a product to build.

More interesting is that AOL is building out something in search themselves while promoting the bejesus out of Google in their TV ads. What exactly is their strategy here? My bet is they don't have one. Just one more misstep by a co. that could have been a major player search if they'd realized what they had. Oh AOL, what might have been!

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