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Microsoft buys VideoSurf, plans to integrate search tech into Xbox Live

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Microsoft has bought out VideoSurf, and plans to use the company's video search technology in Xbox Live for indexing video content.


Microsoft has acquired "video discovery technology company" VideoSurf, in a move that Redmond says will bring new features to Xbox Live. While both parties are keeping tight on financial terms of the deal, TechCrunch pegs it at just under $100 million. Until now, VideoSurf was mainly known for a mobile app that can recognize the video it's pointing at, much like Shazam does with music. VideoSurf also makes a video search engine that lets you scroll through frames before making your selection. Both features may find their way into future iterations of Xbox Live. Alex Garden, director of Xbox Live for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, said the plan is to enable content tagging in real time, enhancing the speed and relevance of search results.

Microsoft has been making serious moves into expanding the search and video capabilities of Xbox Live recently — next month's dashboard update will bring Kinect voice search functionality, and Microsoft also recently bought Skype for $7 billion, with plans afoot to integrate the VoIP client into Live. The library of video content available on Xbox is also expanding at a rapid pace, with Netflix, Hulu, and Zune being joined next month by TV programming — depending on your region and cable provider, of course. It's a cauldron of different video services right on your TV screen, and VideoSurf could be the key to making sense of it all. The killer feature to us would be an intelligent, unified search across all these providers, based on the video content itself rather than metadata. So, if you decide you want to watch Clint Eastwood in something and you don't care what, theoretically VideoSurf could be able to search all available movies for his face and serve them right up to you. Wouldn't that just make your day?