Since the advent of web2.0 and the nefarious abundance of fallacy in news stories propagated by the mainstream media, an increasing number of individuals have begun turning to the Internet and subsequently Youtube to find and view political coverage. Youtube has become a haven for political junkies consequently plumping the site with snarky commentary arguing every point of view from here to Guantanamo bay. Recognizing this high degree of politically charged user activity and its massive potential, Youtube forged ahead defining the onset of convergence media with projects such as Citizentube and the CNN-Youtube debate in which users submitted debate questions to Presidential candidates via Youtube videos.
The success of the CNN-Youtube debate spurred yet more attention to Youtube’s political arena. After all this activity and success we're brought the current homepage for everything political on Youtube (and by political I mean Democrat or Republican) www.Youtube.com/YouChoose. Much to the glee of politicizing Youtubers, it's on this homepage that Google has decided to debut its new “Speech-to-text” technology.
According to the Official Google Blog, “videos from YouTube's Politicians channels are automatically transcribed from speech to text and indexed. Using the gadget you can search not only the titles and descriptions of the videos, but also their spoken content. Additionally, since speech recognition tells us exactly when words are spoken in the video, you can jump right to the most relevant parts of the videos you find.”
Undoubtedly the spiders indexing this new metadata will eventually be put to work on the bulk of the websites content, but for now we're allowed to glimpse this next-gen tech through a small search module on the You Choose homepage. At the moment the module only searches through indexed videos uploaded from accounts verified to be official political figures, this means we finally have a search module that only searches an index of videos uploaded by politicians themselves (or their fervent minions). Although this arguably creates a bit of a narrow view for anyone seeking extensive coverage on a candidate or official, it definitely filters out a lot of the bullshit from users your not looking to hear from in the first place.
The new technology also shows users where in the video the searched phrase or word was spoken, allowing you to skip ahead and watch from that point in the video. This makes finding what the candidate has to say in her or his own words rather easy. While there has been no news on whether or not Politicians have begun using this new tool to manipulate search results in their favor, it will be interesting to see if any have the gumption to attempt such an endeavor. A basic outline of a former effort by Mitt Romney can be found on blip.tv.
With the political season beginning to pickup steam, this tool will making sifting through the "13 hours/minute" of video uploaded to the site a bit easier. You may even be able to find some truth behind the candidates who intrigue you most. As for an ETA on when this technology will be polished up and ready for prime time? Sadly, that has yet to be announced.