Wow: Bing Has Live Video Thumbnails — But is it Fair Use? (CORRECTED POST)

By on 06/01/2009 10:16 AM @beet_tv

Bing.2 One of the most striking aspects of Bing, the new search engine from Microsoft, is how it organizes video search results on a page of living thumbnails. 

So, unlike other video search which organizes still thumbnails and must be clicked to a destination to view, Bing somehow makes its thumbnails live by rolling over the image.

You can find a page of Beet.TV results on Bing right here.  I have pasted a still image of the results page here.

From a quick look, Bing pulls Beet.TV videos randomly from various sources where we syndicate including DailyMotion, Metacafe, MySpace, Google Video, YouTube and Yahoo!  You can watch the entire video as a thumbnail, with sound. 

If you click the thumbnail you go to secondary Bing page with the video.  The page does provide a link to the original source.

This is the broadest implementation of "universal video search" by a major company we have seen.  Yahoo! also surfaces videos from various sources and plays them on a Yahoo! video results page, but it does not have "moving thumbnails."  Blinkx provides thumbnail results as moving animated images, but they are real videos.

While this new platform for video search is very cool for users, I am not sure I can say the same for video producers or the video sharing sites.  Bing appears to pull a media RSS feed which is stripped of advertising overlays.  Not sure if this constitutes fair use or not, but it is something to explore.

Update 6/2:  Denise Howell, IP attorney who blogs on ZDNet weighs in, saying Microsoft is playing it fast and loose" with fair use.

Update/Correction 6/2:  In our excitement and haste about the movable thumbnails, we reported incorrectly that the thumbnails play the whole video with audio.  Our error: It provides extended excerpts, not the whole thing.  This feature is very cool and unique but is probably within the bounds of fair use. Our apologies.

Update/New Post 6/3 — See my interview with Bing Director Stefan Weitz.

Last week at D: All Things Digital, I spoke with CNET News.com's Ina Fried and TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld on what is different about Bing and some of its challenges.  The video is below.

Andy Plesser, Executive Producer

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