Google and the Future of Video

The talks that Google and Apple are currently in about video will likely start defining the future of video entertainment as we know it. And it’s just one more example of “push” going to “pull”.

The news story is about iTV, the new device that bridges the gap between the TV and the PC, letting you viewed video from your hard drive on your TV. It’s the continuation of convergence that I’ve been talking about for some time now.

But what is interesting about this to me is not so much the hardware as the extension of searchability to online entertainment. It’s just a matter of time before the walls come down between something like YouTube and the world of broadcast TV. They’re already crumbling rapidly. And setting your viewing preferences based on searchability opens up a whole new world. I’ve had just a taste of it through Microsoft’s Media Center and I like it. You can search up to two weeks of programming by keyword, looking for a particular topic, director or actor.

Now, let’s extend this the next logical step. Let’s open up the rapidly exploding world of video. All the movies, all the tv shows, all the documentaries ever made, as well as the crushing wave of consumer generated video content, all as searchable as the web thanks to Google. You in the mood for a show about 9/11 conspiracy theories? A quick search and you’re watching Loose Change. Plus, Google suggests other shows you might be interested on based on your topic. It’s just a matter of time before somebody does for video what Pandora is doing for music, allowing you to explore the world of video entertainment based on similarities to what you already like.

Social tagging opens up more possibilities, allowing you to tap into the most popular choices of the various online communities you belong to. The buzz effect takes over (as we see currently on YouTube) and suddenly watching online video becomes a communal experience.

It’s a revolution in video distribution, and the seeds are being sown currently in the chat that Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt are likely having as we speak.

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