It is hard to detect trends in what is happening all around you, but the following major institution clearly shows a world moving from text and fixed images to video.
Press photography is about to undergo fundamental changes in its business model. Up until now, it has been “buy photo content, store content, wait for client, sell photo”. They have seen the signs, or possibly heard Clay Shirky’s message about the death of old business models in the newspaper industry
…there is one possible answer to the question “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” The answer is: Nothing will work, but everything might. Now is the time for experiments, lots and lots of experiments…
Press photography is soon to experiment with a new business model: moving from content owner to content producer and distributor, moving from photos to videos.
They plan (I learned this last night from a friend in the photography world) to no longer wait for customers to come buy their photos, but rather to harvest the vast amount of locally produced, real time news images and to use their photojournalistic experience to filter and edit and package to produce their own content: story, video, editing. They plan to sell or give away a packaged widget to (online) news outlets. Activating the widget will send control back to the press photography site, which then streams its story and manages it own advertising revenue from the stream.
What does this shift portend for information retrieval?
Information retrieval began as text based storage, gradually incorporating other formats, including structured textual information from databases.
Then search engines began to index photos and videos. Google added its Image tab to its home page around October 9, 2001, and its Video tab around August 14, 2006. We added our Exalead Video search tab about a year later.
These first video search systems used the same methods as with image search, using the text found around the raw data sources, and the text in file names, and in links pointing to the multimedia file, to serve as index terms.
But as more and more information may only be presented in video form, it will be necessary to index the content of videos, too. We do this in our experimental video search system, VoxaleadNews.
But what I didn’t realize until last night is that systems like Voxalead might not just be some cute add-on to a search engine, but that this might actually be what future search engines are: that information might only come in video, and that things like text and even still images, will become some quaint, outdated media, like engravings are now.