Yahoo has announced a revamp of their new video site at http://video.yahoo.com/, hoping to take some of the spotlight away from YouTube, where I’m spending way too much time watching The Skeletor Show. (WARNING: Not safe for work, occasional f-bombs, completely sophomoric humor, watch only if you find the idea of Skeletor going to the center of the Earth to order a patty melt and Mr. Pibb amusing. For something equally silly but more safe for work, try Mortal Peep Fight.)
What’s up with the new site? The home page has been resolved with tabs that quickly point you toward featured videos, popular videos, and frankly what looks like the most anemic tag cloud I’ve ever seen. It looked like it had less than two dozen tags.
I went to the Popular tab and started looking around. The “Japanese Illusionist Water Trick” looked interesting so I clicked on that. Yahoo gave me information about the video, including comments, ratings, popularity, and number of views (tres YouTube) but… Yahoo Video doesn’t host the videos themselves. What’s up with that? Clicking on videos brought different results. Sometimes you got only a prompt to open or save the video, and sometimes you get shunted to another site to see the video.
Well, I should say that sometimes Yahoo Videos doesn’t host the videos themselves. The site looks like a combination of videos found via media feeds from major publishers, and user-submitted videos. Looks like the way you can tell which videos are hosted on site is to look on the far right of the table of information. You’ll either see the user name of a submitter or a feed URL. The feed URL means the video is hosted off-site, so if you don’t want to trust anyone but Yahoo to feed you multimedia, don’t go for the offsite material.
Yahoo Video also has a keyword search with an advanced search available at http://video.yahoo.com/video/advanced. Here you can search for keywords and limit your search by video type, size, duration, and domain. So I did a search for DDR with the search limited to the Yahoo.com domain and it was interesting — I still got videos outside Yahoo.com, including from gamesdomain.yahoo.com and store.yahoo.com. (You can limit your search to subdomain, so limiting a search to video.yahoo.com is valid. In this case it gives you only one result.)
Yahoo has also introduced a variety of other features including a “MyStudio” area to upload, manage, and share “original” content (I saw a lot of clips from TV shows etc.) A “MyFavorites” page, and more ways to share videos with other folks. Yahoo seems to have the same content restrictions on their videos as other places like YouTube, though I saw previews for videos that clearly violated those restrictions. (The content itself wasn’t available, but the preview screen shots and descriptions were enough to make many a company network go DANGER WILL ROBINSON. There is a link with each video to report objectionable content.) What’s weird is that while Yahoo Videos additional terms of service seem to specifically forbid pornographic content, there’s still an adult content filter available. Um…
I’m not sure how I feel about the new Yahoo Video site. On the one hand, it seems appropriate to aggregate both internal and external video content into one place. On the other hand, there are many features that I missed; you can’t get RSS feeds of search results, for example. It doesn’t appear you can sort search results by the most recently-added material. And I would really, really like a way to quickly restrict search results to just those hosted by Yahoo Video (perhaps a checkbox next to the simple keyword search?)