I hate YouTube’s search options. Hate hate hate them. I’ve considered an article writing about how much I hate them, but that seemed indulgent when I had no way to fix any of the problems. Even when I complained about iTunes’ podcast search back in 2007, I at least had a few podcasts to recommend to make up for it. In this case do you really want 1200 words of me pointing and going “Isn’t it awful?”
Sure you don’t. But I’ve just learned about a new site for video metasearch that will give you more video search options and lets me do a little sideways crabbing about YouTube at the same time. Everybody wins.
I learned about PeteyVid from an article at AllTopStartups. The gentleman who wrote the article, Thomas Oppong, took more of a top-level view of the new search engine. I found a couple of things that seemed different from his article, and I want to look at it from a user experience viewpoint.
PeteyVid is a video metasearch engine. You don’t hear about metasearch much these days, but it used to be all the rage about fifteen years ago. In case you’re not old like me: metasearch engines combine search results from a bunch of different resources or search engines. One of the better known metasearch engines is Dogpile.
In the case of PeteyVid, it draws from a number of video providers, including (according to the AllTopStartups article), Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube if the video is over an hour long. But the search preferences it offers go a little further than YouTube.
Basic searching with PeteyVid
PeteyVid starts with a basic search input. (You can also browse by hashtags but we’ll get to that later.) When you enter a search term, you get a little cat noise (like a “rwarwarwar”.) I suspect this is supposed to be amusing, but in my case it kept making me check on my sick cat.
I did a starting search for strawberry shortcake.
The search results are initially set up in a list as you would normally see on a search results page. But you can also set them up as a grid, as you can see from the toggle underneath the query box.
(And I want to note that at the bottom of the search results there’s a space for an ad and an invitation for someone to buy ads on the site. The AllTopStartups article notes: “There are no advertisements because the main goal of this search engine isn’t to sell you products.” I think there are no advertisements because he hasn’t sold any yet. There are plenty of ways you can have advertising on your site without being awful about it.)
As you can see, my initial search results are heavy on Strawberry Shortcake, the rebooted-1980s-somewhat-annoying character. This is where Petey Vid’s result refinements come in handy.
Sorting by Duration
With YouTube, you can incorporate video length into you search in two ways. You can search for videos less than four minutes long, or more than 20. Yay. In the meantime YouTube has plenty of videos that are 24 hours long, and many (thanks to gifs and Vines and TikTok) that are less than 30 seconds.
Petey Vid gives you more options, with the ability to search for videos under five minutes, between five and 20, more than 20, and more than 45. I would like to see additional options — under a minute and maybe over three hours — but this is more than YouTube offers.
When I search for feature-length, I get mostly cartoon episodes with the majority from Daily Motion. And mostly the results are about the character Strawberry Shortcake. But to switch the focus off that berry-pun slinging so-and-so, I only have to do one thing.
Sorting by Date
Petey Vid’s other result refinement involves sorting.
YouTube allows you to sort by upload date, which gives you the newest content first. But there’s no way I know of to get the oldest content first. Petey Vid does. Take this strawberry shortcake search, sorted with oldest results first:
There is a 3-minute clip from a Strawberry Shortcake movie, but that is the only mention of the character in the first page of results. Instead there are several references to Strawberry on the Shortcake (a Japanese drama from 2001) as well as discussions of — well, actual strawberry shortcake.
And this, if you’ll let me rant briefly, is why I get so irritated by the idea that keywords and even syntax are supposed to do all the heavy lifting when you use search engines. I almost completely eliminated Strawberry Shortcake the character from this search result just by sorting it a little differently. Can you imagine any other keyword combination that would have eliminated it just as quickly without sacrificing useful results? (I tried — Petey Vid supports keyword exclusion — but I gave up after a few minutes as my excluded keywords list got longer and longer.)
Let’s take a quick look at Petey Vid’s hashtag search.
Searching by Hashtags
Petey Vid has a list of hashtags at https://www.peteyvid.com/trend.php .
You can click on any of the trending hashtags or you can click on the All to see all of them. (Dear Petey Vid: please consider making the ALL and TODAY links in a different color so they stand out.) Here’s what a hashtag search looks like. Let’s do Game of Thrones since that’s a thing right now:
In this case the results are more social media oriented, with a dollop of memes in there too, but they’re sortable and viewable the same way.
Here’s a little hack for you: you can search PeteyVid for any hashtag you want. You don’t have to stick to his list. Here’s what the URL for a hashtag search looks like:
Leave the %23 alone (that’s an URL-encoded hastag) and replace the italicized portion of the URL with your search term. Remember, this is a hashtag, so no spaces. Here’s my search for Strawberry Shortcake (StrawberryShortcake), shown as a grid of results so you can get a sense of what it looks like:
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with Petey Vid right out of the gate. I would like to see an on-site list of the video sources being used, and a list of the search operators available, but I was able to find plenty of content with basic searching. And I like the result refinement options – they’re better than YouTube’s! Worth a try.