Microsoft acquires video indexer VideoSurf

Xbox 360 video discovery to get a boost with new media analytics technology; Kinect integration planned.

The Xbox 360 is set to expand its media offerings substantially this holiday with a host of new providers bringing fresh content to the console. With a large influx of media on the way, Microsoft is looking to make content discovery a bit easier.

VideoSurf technology may let users search for appearances of actors within film clips.

Microsoft today announced that it has acquired video content discovery company VideoSurf. The company's back-end technology allows individual frames in videos to be seen and indexed, allowing for easier searching of a piece of the media's content. Along with Kinect integration, Microsoft hopes to improve the content discovery experience that has traditionally been relegated to drill-down menus and searching via the onscreen keyboard.

"This holiday, we will launch voice search across our entertainment partners on Xbox Live," said Microsoft's interactive entertainment business director of Xbox Live Alex Garden. "Over time, as we integrate VideoSurf's technology into our system, we are excited about the potential to have content tagged in real time to increase the speed and relevance of the search results."

Prior to the acquisition, VideoSurf primarily scrubbed videos from across the Web--analyzing and indexing the most "visually unique" moments--and assigning categories to the contents algorithmically. The technology allows for clips to be searched based on a number of factors, including a specific person/character's presence in a scene.