Google makes TV searchable

Google today released Google Video, a service that enables you to search the content of television programs from PBS, the NBA, Fox News and C-SPAN, among others. “What Google did for the web, Google Video aims to do for television,” Google co-founder Larry Page said in a press release.

Still in development, this beta release of Google Video searches the closed captioning content of a number of TV programs that Google began indexing in December 2004. Entering a query such as “sutherland” will return a list of relevant television programs with still images and text excerpts from the exact point in the program where the search phrase was spoken. So far, there is no video playback, but Page said that the company is working with content owners to add enhancements such as playback.

For each TV program containing text that matches your search, Google Video provides:

  • Preview page. Displays up to five still video captures and five short text segments from the program.
  • Upcoming episodes. Shows when the program will be aired next.
  • Search within the show. Enables searching for specific words within a given program.
  • Program details. Offers program and episode information including channel, date and time.
  • Change location. Set your zip code in the preferences box, and it finds the next time and channel where the program will air in your locale.

As this searchable archive of TV programming grows, it could become an invaluable tool for lawyers. Use it, for example, to search for references to a particular company or product, or to pinpoint historical information about news events or weather conditions for a particular date.