Coull.tv promises to enable users to search inside videos - to find specific segments within a video that they want to view - as well as interact with "moving objects" inside the video. You may remember that Gotuit does a similar thing, by manually inserting metadata within videos. I'm tracking their progress too, so I thought I'd also investigate coull.tv's system. Note that Gotuit is focused on 'professional' content, while coull.tv is a YouTube-like consumer play on amateur videos.Online video sharing sites are a dime a dozen these days, but a newly launched one caught my eye this week.
The key differentiator with coull.tv (from the likes of YouTube) is that it allows users to search for specific moments within video - as well as click on and interact with what the company calls "moving objects" during play. The latter is done via a downloadable app called ‘video activator’, which enables users to make objects within a video interactive. Using this app, objects within the video can be edited by the coull.tv community - with the aim of making video searching more contextual and relevant. So this in turn enables viewers to find specific points in a video and perhaps send specific links within a video to friends.
Video Activator in action
As a complement to all this, coull.tv has something called a "density bar", which highlights community tagging, commenting and other activity - and indicates when interactive elements are upcoming during play.
A version for brands and marketers
There is also a version of the coull.tv system that enables brands and marketers to insert clickable objects within a video and link directly to brand micro-sites or product pages. This is an interesting idea, given Read/WriteWeb's recent coverage of brands utilizing social networking sites like YouTube, in order to promote their products and marketing campaigns. Coull.tv is actually embracing this trend, unlike Flickr for example which is discouraging it. The branded version of coull.tv will be known as branded channels.
As Adrants pointed out, most consumer users of coull.tv may not take the time to insert metadata inside a video using 'video activator' - but brands are much more likely to do that, because there's specific payoff for them.
More on searching objects within a video
We asked the company how coull.tv is different to Gotuit. The reply was that Gotuit provides the user with a playlist, enabling the user to jump from clip to clip. But we were told that Coull.tv provides more than clip jumping - it also has "the ability to define and follow objects within a video, tag them, comment on them, search them etc." So instead of a clip playlist, coull.tv aims to provide an 'object playlist' (my wording).
The company told us their aim is to make videos "reactive to viewers in the same way links react on a web page." In other words, objects within a video can be linked in the same way as text can be linked on a webpage. I think this is a great idea, although I believe Gotuit (and no doubt others) are also working on such a system too.
Searching within videos is probably the holy grail of online video - e.g. wouldn't Google love to have this feature in YouTube, so it can put contextual advertising within videos. I think coull.tv is a great start and the only big drawback I see is that it requires users to manually input the metadata, using Video Activator. While brands and marketers have a clear incentive to do this, will normal users? Gotuit has the same issue, that metadata has to be manually input.
What are your thoughts on coull.tv and searching inside videos in general?