Is YouTube the Next Google?
According to the latest number crunching by ComScore, YouTube has morphed from a video sharing site to the second most popular search tool in the US. YouTube searches in the United States recently edged out those on Yahoo, which had long been the No. 2 search engine, after Google. In November alone, Americans punched in 2.8 billion searches on YouTube, about 200 million more than on Yahoo.
Here’s an example from the New York Times of how kids are using video for information searches:
Faced with writing a school report on an Australian animal, Tyler Kennedy began where many students begin these days: by searching the Internet. But Tyler didn’t use Google or Yahoo. He searched for information about the platypus on YouTube. ‘I found some videos that gave me pretty good information about how it mates, how it survives, what it eats,’ Tyler said.
Similarly, when Tyler gets stuck on one of his favorite games on the Wii, he searches YouTube for tips on how to move forward. And when he wants to explore the ins and outs of collecting Bakugan Battle Brawlers cards, which are linked to a Japanese anime television series, he goes to YouTube again.
As more video is added to the Web, the proportion of video searches that deliver adequate answers will only grow. This has the online chattering class asking if Youtube will someday grow to supplant or rival Google. But since Google owns Youtube, the more interesting question is how far will video go as an alternative to text?
Hard to say. We know that lot’s of online content does not convert well to video and the hyperlinking text remains one of the cosmic powers of the web — so the rise of video probably won’t mean the death of text. But the way in which the two mediums interact, conflict or complement each other will be important to grassroots political education, organizational branding, knowledge networks, etc. (We’re already seeing more and more groups using video to frame and send out talking points).
The New York Times cites the ad for Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Democratic presidential primaries — the one in which a voice asks “Who do you want answering the phone?” at the White House at 3 a.m. during a crisis — as an example of how text and video searches yield different results. A search for “Hillary Clinton 3 a.m.” on Google brings up news stories about the ad and the controversy surrounding it. On YouTube, the same search brings up the original commercial, as well a response by the Barack Obama campaign, pundits’ commentaries.
If you haven’t already, you might want to type you’re top five issue areas and organization’s name into YouTube and see what comes up. At minimum you’ll see what young folks are seeing when they look for information on your topics or group. And when you pull up the search, you might also find reason to pull out your Flip Video and draft up some YouTube talking points…