Veoh releases search plug-in

Video aggregation company is in your Google. And Yahoo and Ask. Veoh CEO says "video should be everywhere."

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Video aggregator Veoh has released into beta a new browser plug-in that inserts video results into search pages from Google, Yahoo, YouTube, MSN Live, and Ask.com. Results show up in a strip on top of your results. Unfortunately, there's no way to close the strip that I could see, but the results can be useful. If you believe, as Veoh CEO Dmitry Shapiro does, that "video should be everywhere," this extension will work well for you. Get it on labs.veoh.com.

Shapiro also believes that the real problem with video search, and search in general, is "discovery:" People can easily find sites and pages if they know what they are looking for, but finding new content directions is still hard. So the Veoh plug-in also uses the company's collaborative filtering technology to display keywords related to your search above the video results. Unlike many other "related search" products that give you good options to narrow down your search, the Veoh suggestions can go off in other directions, but can be quite helpful.

In one test, Veoh gave Google a run for its money.

For example, I did a Google search on "Thomas," and the Veoh video hits were related to Thomas the Tank Engine (which is what I was looking for). Related search terms at the top were mostly other children's shows I had never heard of, and were good discoveries for me. Score one for Veoh.

Clicking on video from the search strip pops it up over the search results page, and plays it.

Since when it comes to video, content companies are being promiscuous in distribution, and sites like YouTube and Hulu allow embedding, "everyone will have everything," Shapiro says. Thus video destination sites need to differentiate in search and discovery, and in ways they make money.

To that point, Veoh has been experimenting with advertising vehicles. The company last year launched behavioral ads, in which a user's previous viewing behavior influenced their ad mix. Shapiro believes that this is the key to monetizing user-generated content, a challenge he calls the "holy grail" of online video.

Veoh will also soon launch advertisements that pop up when users pause their videos (apparently about 70 percent of viewers pause a video and then resume it). Not a brand new idea (one DVR company once touted Coca-Cola as an advertiser with "the pause that refreshes") and it's unclear if putting advertisements over embedded content is viable. But companies do have to keep experimenting with ways to make money from video if they want to survive -- and compete with YouTube.

Veoh is well-funded (it's raised $69.7 million in four rounds) by influential investors, but it does not have the brand recognition of YouTube, Hulu, or the networks themselves. The main site also needs a design overhaul to reflect Shapiro's mission to make Veoh a hub for discovery and viewing.

But the new search plug-in looks very useful.

Read: More Veoh stories.