HP tests personalized video delivery to consumers

The technology pushes Web video content based on consumer preferences

Hewlett-Packard's research organization in Bangalore has developed an application that will help consumers create personalized channels of online video content on their Windows computers.

The application, which can be downloaded free from a HP Labs India website, currently pulls in video from Google's YouTube, but can be extended to similar video-sharing sites on the Web, for which the APIs (application programming interfaces) are available, said Krishnan Ramanathan, senior research scientist at HP Labs India.

The lab started on Tuesday the public beta of the application, called Personalized Video. Researchers at HP Labs said that video will dominate the Internet experience in some non-English speaking countries such as India, because of the challenges of text-based content creation in local languages.

There are, however, billions of videos online, which can be overwhelming for the average user, Ramanathan said. The application developed by the lab helps create user-defined channels that deliver videos that are relevant to the topic selected, he added.

The application uses the query engine on YouTube, but based on users' ratings and other indications of their preferences, it "learns" and fetches content that is relevant to the user's topic and preferences, Ramanathan said.

Users can view a continuous stream of videos without having to start each video individually, and they can share videos with friends on Facebook and Twitter, HP said. Twenty-one videos are served at a time, but buttons on the screen will enable users to get more content of the same type, Ramanathan said. Consumers can create specialized channels for food, entertainment and any other topics.

An annotation option allows users to mark certain points in the video for reference and future viewing. The application also searches and finds Web pages with keywords matching that of the video being watched, which can also be printed, Ramanathan said.

The commercial opportunity of the technology is that advertisers can sign up to push product videos and other content from a server in the cloud to users' desktops, Ramanathan said. Movie studios can also push trailers of upcoming movies to users, and premium sponsored content can also be made into a channel. The server collects information on users' preferences and viewing habits, he added.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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