YouTube’s search not yet powered by Google

by Eszter Hargittai on December 6, 2006

Andrew Sullivan posts a copy of this compilation of AT&T ads from 1993 predicting the future. They did a great job predicting what is today available to many. And remember, 1993 was the year when the first Windows-based browser was released helping along wide public access to the Web. But at that point little of this was obvious.

I wanted to find the video on YouTube directly. I didn’t realize you could just get to the specific YouTube page by clicking on the video window anywhere but the play button so I proceeded by searching for it on YouTube. I got one result (not the right one) for at&t 1993. A search for at&t ads didn’t give me this hit either.

At that point, I decided to just click on Share in the YouTube player (which annoyingly resizes my entire browser window) and tweak the URL from share to view to get to the page. That’s one way to do it (but again, clicking anywhere but the play button is probably the easiest if you already have the video of interest:). If you don’t have the specific video then it seems best to do a site-specific search for the video on Google as such: at&t 1993. I wonder when YouTube search will be powered by Google given the acquisition.

UPDATE: I’m told by someone who seems to be a reliable source (but who wishes to remain anonymous) that this is something that they are, indeed, working on and it will be one of the first integrations as part of the acquisition.



Ben 12.06.06 at 7:25 pm

Why didn’t you just look at the page source? I found the URL in approximately 15 seconds that way.


Eszter 12.06.06 at 7:59 pm

Ben, that gives it to you in huge format so you still have to tweak the URL (and then you have to remember how they display their URLs whereas if you click on share then you can just change “share” to “view”). In any case, clicking on the video seems like the fastest manner.:)

The main point is that if you don’t have the exact URL, but just have the topic of a video (e.g. someone sent you an attachment on email and you know it must be on YouTube and would like to post a link to it) then you can’t rely on their search function very well as things stand.


Jake 12.06.06 at 8:41 pm

Well, the search function usually works reasonably well – the problem in this case was/is the ampersand in AT&T. And unfortunately the YouTube search doesn’t let you escape the ampersand.

Google Video has generally better search but not nearly as many videos, so until the search engines are integrated, should find any video that has been linked from outside YouTube, and for everything else you have to take your chances with the YouTube search.


Tom 12.06.06 at 11:43 pm

I do hope they integrate Google’s search software into YouTube soon. I usually don’t spend much time surfing YouTube, because if I search for something (like old SNL skits) I end up getting reenactments of these skits by various other YouTubers around the country, which is annoying and not very helpful. I know YouTube has the whole “community” thing going on, but it can be exhausting trying to wade through that sea of despair.


Donald A. Coffin 12.07.06 at 1:35 pm

Of course, what ATT got wrong in that series of ads in 1993 was that ATT would provide you all those things. They just didn’t forsee their bankruptcy.

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