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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

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Friday, December 30, 2005

How good is the new Google video search?

It was fun yesterday to tell the world, and especially family around the world, about my son's Chinese martial arts demo video, now available through Google search. It made me wonder how good the new service is, and what you can find there.

The link here takes you to Google's "about" page, which gives some useful instructions. What they don't mention until you try to upload a video is that they screen the content, just as they do ads, and any illegal material presumably won't make it.

As with most new things on the web, just thinking about this gets you mulling over all the other amazing things we will soon be able to do on the web. If it doesn't stress you out to fast forward to the near future, see what CNN's Jim Boulden has to say about it this week.

I gave Google video searches 15 minutes this morning and here is what I found:

Old TV shows, still waiting

I like the idea of getting old TV shows, especially for channels like PBS that I don't get in Europe. But when I clicked on the option under Google's "Search for programs from a variety of channels including:" not one of them worked. Maybe the service isn't functioning yet. I like the idea. Get going on it, Google!

See how charities spend their (your) money

I was surprised to see aid agencies and charities listed so I tried putting in Greenpeace and Unicef, at Google's suggestion. I watched David Beckham working at Unicef's Copenhagen office and members of New York's Chinese community giving a giant check for $180,00 for tsunami victims. I loved Greenpeace USA's public service announcement about wind power.

This is a brilliant option for non-profits trying to find a way to tell the world what they do

Google video, mixed quality - hey, it's the web!

Most of the videos that people are likely to look at are homemade, but that covers a lot of sins.

Some are pretty well filmed and edited, with good music - ok, time to mention the son again, who is using his demo to find advertising work.

I checked out skiing and came up with 10 pages of search results. Not surprisingly most are in the U.S., a few in Canada. The oddest was an ostrich on skis, who did pretty well. Give him and the editor their due.

I then searched for Swiss skiing, since we live near a Swiss ski resort, and I came up with just one - the search service is new, so Google's bank of videos that people have uploaded is still small. This one showed a pleasant enough vacation but the Swiss tourism office will probably cringe at the cliches. No sign of snowboarders, fast skiers, nor ostriches - and we would have to look hard here to find the cowbells and yodeling and men with knobbly knees.

People film their dreams.

Lots of funny cats and dogs videos, not surprisingly. The most popular videos tend to be humorous and sports films. Humor doesn't always cross national and sexual boundaries well, so I was more bored than amused by a man Out West who loves his horse too much.

Hey, it's the web! You take what you want and leave the rest - but definitely some interesting new things there for the taking.

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