New Google Gadget

July 16, 2008

I tried out Google’s new elections video search tool. It’s pretty darn neat. How many times have you sworn that you heard a certain candidate make a statement but you have no idea which speech it was in? You need to prove that it exists but you don’t know how. Now, you can do it.

Google has converted speeches by political candidates using speech recognition software. For anyone whose ever used one of these programs you know that they can be a little iffy at times. Something is however better than nothing at all. When you type in a word or phrase it searches the politician’s channels on Youtube for the rhetoric. The videos are then presented to you. There are now two options. You can either watch the entire video or go to the yellow indicator dots for the phrase you want and skip right to it.

I really like the idea. Who wants to sit through a 30 minute speech to find one phrase? Politicians can be very long winded, as we all know. Why not skip to the good stuff? The speeches are supposed to be in the database just a few hours after they’re posted.

A potential problem, of course, would be that some politicians don’t post their speeches on a Youtube channel. If they aren’t posted, they aren’t converted, and you can’t find them. Another problem is, as I mentioned before, that speech recognition software is not always accurate when it comes to recognizing words. So yeah, there might be some glitches but it’s still exciting.

I think that news organizations could also find this very useful in the future to pinpoint sound bites. Most use nonlinear editing systems, computers, and could use a tool like this one internally to wade through tons of footage. If a reporter didn’t have the timecode for an interview answer they could type in the words that they heard earlier in the day and poof the information would be pulled up. This, of course, would have to be converted for personal use since they would be using their own footage.

As for online news organizations, they’re ready to go. It’s technology, let’s use it.

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Wait, Let me Google it

February 10, 2008

 

Google has become part of our vernacular. For people who don’t use it there’s this website. I was watching a newscast last week where the reporter was talking about Google and Yahoo. She mentioned that you never hear someone say that they’re going to yahoo it when looking something up on the internet. One of the Johns in They Might Be Giants mentioned googling the name of a song writer that he couldn’t remember while on stage. It really is the search engine. Let’s face it the internet without a good search engine would be useless. 

 

With the power of search also comes responsibility. If your business can’t be found on Google it might as well be invisible. If it is found you just might be made. As Google updates their software though you might go from being found to being lost or vice versa. This would definitely make Google a scary entity. They giveth and taketh away. I know that in the past I’ve done a search each time I wanted to find a certain website. Now, with the creation of favorites and del.icio.us a consumer can save the websites to their computers so being found in each and every search isn’t as critical. Also, none of the companies are complaining during a time when they are found quickly. It’s like free advertising.

 

There are also other search engines out there even though Google really is the one that most people use. I guess that could make it seem like a monopoly but it just does search better than anyone else right now. Things change so fast though in the tech world that someone else could leave Google in the dust in the not so far future. I think what makes it special is that it opened another door and others are going to try and step through creating better products. Didn’t Yahoo open a new door before Google? 

 

Should we be scared of one company with so much power due to innovation? Heck no. We should thank them for leading the way and forcing other products to follow suit with their own new ideas.