Google Search has become an almost indispensable tool in today’s age, much to the chagrin of privacy-conscious Internet users. The way it has been indexing and presenting information on the Web has made it learn anything and everything, sometimes even without having to go to the associated website or service. Videos, however, are not as easy to deal with, which is why Google is presenting a compromise that helps surfers first check if they got the right one before jumping directly at that point in time in the video itself.
For websites and services that have textual information, it’s easier for Google to pull out information to present to users in quick info cards. These often give answers right then and there so that users won’t have to navigate away from Google. And even if they do have to read the whole thing, scanning and searching text is a lot easier compared to other forms of information.
For videos, you’d have to watch even just a few minutes before you can even figure out what you’re watching has the answer you need. Worse is when you have to go all the way to the end only to find out the info you’re looking for isn’t even there. If you search on Google, however, those info cards will also include mini cards that point to specific key moments and topics that you can jump to immediately.
Unlike with text, this doesn’t happen automatically, which probably saves Google from the headache of copyright infringement lawsuits. It explains that it is working with creators to make it happen, which means the latter will have to make those key moments and timestamps explicit one way or another. In YouTube’s case, there is indeed a bit of automation as Google Search will take the data from timestamp information that the creator puts in the description.
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For all other video content providers and platforms, they will have to make an arrangement with Google and it has a few requirements on what videos are eligible. Fortunately for these publishers and providers, users will still have to watch the videos on their websites, something that news companies and book publishers have been complaining about in textual Google Search.