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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 11, 2008 at 6:07 PM

Video demo: Cool video search tool from Delve Networks, formerly Pluggd

I never got around to meeting Alex Castro when his Pioneer Square startup, Pluggd, was building tools for podcasters, maybe because podcasting seemed a bit like a flash in the pan.

But now that Castro’s 12-person company has turned its focus to video search, it’s probably time to pay more attention.

The company today announced a new name, Delve Networks, that’s less audio focused and emphasizes its technology for delving into video content.

The system lets publishers automatically tag content within their videos with terms, so users can search through a news clip for mentions of “Iraq” or “Obama,” for instance.

For video consumers, it’s a nifty way to jump to a specific point in a clip.

But the business angle is even more interesting, especially if Delve has figured out a better way to make Flash video searchable and crawlable by Google.

Google search marketing guru Matt Cutts last week mentioned that video search is one of the hot areas to watch. I think the difficulty of searching for content within Flash video is one reason that Google’s letting people annotate YouTube videos, so users will add searchable text alongside their clips.

Delve’s system embeds a sort of annotation within the clip and adds a search pane to the player. When you search for a term, it displays a “heatmap” of probable spots where the term is used, so you can zoom right to them.

Pluggd raised $6 million last fall to develop the technology. That also enabled it to afford more vowels, Vice President Alex Alben joked.

“Now we’ve got funding, we’ve got two ‘E’s,” he said.

Here’s a demo Alex and Alex gave me a month or so ago in the Pluggd days, when the product was about 75 percent done:

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