Can’t find video about the latest news without searching dozens of websites? Are you sick of sitting through 5 minutes of an audio clip just to hear the 30 seconds you’re interested in? These problems could be things of the past. Last February, Massachusetts-based EveryZing announced the debut of its ezSEO and ezSEARCH, designed to make audio and video content more searchable on the web. In October the company will launch its new media player, hoping to go a step further and change the way users interact with multimedia content.
"On the web you fully expect to interact with the content, find exactly what you’re looking for, clip it, share it, comment on it, and audio and video have been left out of that," says EveryZing’s CEO Tom Wilde. But thanks in part to about $100 million or so of government funding in speech-to-text technologies, the way companies such as EveryZing are presenting media to web users is changing.
Many companies and websites found themselves with a problem in the YouTube era, as Wilde poses it: "How do you get your content online and do so in a way that maintains control over your brand … and your advertising opportunity?" Some companies, such as CBS Radio, FOX Sports, Boston.com, and others, have turned to EveryZing to take their audio and video content, create text files using speech-to-text technology, and wrap each file within this searchable text. This allows them to offer the content from their own sites, though it is hosted by EveryZing, and make it searchable.
"Users now expect a single search box … so we provide that now for our major media customers," says Wilde. Of course, clips can also be discovered using traditional search engines such as Google, but rather than relying on tags and keywords alone, every word in the associated media file can be searched for topics of interest and indexed using the ezSEO. Also, advertising can be targeted to the specific clip that a user is viewing.
Clients can be as hands-on or hands-off as they want. "If the customer never wants to log in, they still get the vast majority of the benefit because we’ve built it to be automated," says Wilde.Each multimedia page is hosted by EveryZing and integrated into the client’s website, indicated by the "Powered by EveryZing" logo. But for customers with the manpower and know-how, EveryZing’s RAMP offering allows clients to control ezSEARCH and ezSEO by enabling them to determine their own content pages, customize topic search and navigation, and manage the advertising targeting of audio and video content. Wilde adds, "Scalability is absolutely key because the web is so vast."
In September EveryZing announced a completely reworked edition of its MetaPlayer. "For about half of our customers, we integrate their media player … but about half the customers use our flash media player," says Wilde, who admits that EveryZing did not put a whole lot of thought into its player initially, assuming that most clients already had preferred players. However, the popularity of the player has grown, and the people at EveryZing decided that they needed to make it a more developed part of the solution.
The player already allowed users to navigate within a video or audio clip by using markers along the clip’s timeline, indicating exactly where their search term was found and allowing them to skip around from marker to marker. Text is also displayed alongside the clip, with time signatures, so you can be sure you have found what you’re looking for.
The new MetaPlayer will allow navigating a video, using tags, commenting along the timeline within the video, clipping, sharing, and more. The company aspires to make video and audio as interactive as other content on the web.
MetaPlayer will be available to anyone using EveryZing’s services. "We haven’t yet considered offering it as standalone, as it is so closely integrated to our backend capabilities. That said, we will be offering a lightweight version for podcasters and video bloggers in early 2009," says Wilde.
Wilde does not want to give too much away about things to come. However, he does predict "the ability to make sense of the huge volumes of unstructured content on the web will become a critical success factor for creating revenue streams from professional content online."