Empowering internet video

Video is an old medium with many strengths, for example:

  1. Video is more personal than texts and stills, it affects us and our feelings much more.
  2. Video is very efficient for learning, explaining how things work.

But internet video as it is mainly used today also has several drawbacks:

  1. It is linear: 5 minutes of video takes 5 minutes to watch
  2. It is hard to search videos, to find keywords about its content
  3. You do not get an overview of what the video clip is about before you start watching
  4. The controls are usually not very flexible; you cannot play the video at higher speeds, like with a DVD
  5. There is no index, you cannot jump directly to the most interesting part of the video

When was the last time you watched a 15-minute clip of someone talking?
For many types of video clips or TV shows etc, these drawbacks are not too important. But for example a long video lecture or interview often feels too time-consuming to watch for the above reasons.

Happily, there are solutions available today that begs to be used more:

  1. Indexing: inside the video frame and outside
  2. In-video comments
  3. In-video tags
  4. Automatic voice-to-text

So here are some examples of ways to improve internet video:

Viddler is a video service that offers both tags and user comments in the video player. Point to the white dots to see the comments and the black dots to see the tags. The tags are also automatically gathered in a separate tag cloud, so that you can search inside all the videos that contain a certain tag, very smart!


MIT’s lecture browser is a web interface to video recordings of lectures that have been indexed using automatic speech recognition technology. You can search for topics and play the video starting at the relevant point and see the synchronized transcript. As you can see, the transcript is not perfect yet, but it is certainly good enough to get an overall impression of what the lecture is about and search for the most interesting part of it.

These are just two examples of new, smart functions that empowers internet video. There are many more already, the future of internet video has just begun, so stay tuned!

Published by

Henrik Ahlén

I am an eHealth Strategist in Stockholm, Sweden I drive eHealth development projects from needs analysis and idea generation to service design and implementation. See my LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mrhenrikahlen

2 thoughts on “Empowering internet video”

  1. Interesting post Henrik. Let’s hope more media players start using these kind of features. Unfortunately I think they have a long way to go.

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