Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hyperlinks in Audio and Video

Those that were around for the beginning of the world wide web will remember that the groundbreaking concept that fueled its explosion was the hyperlink. The hyperlink seems commonplace today, but it is still the glue that holds the internet together.

Where would you be if you could not click on a link and get to the information you wanted? At best, you would be looking up addresses in a book and typing them in.

The latest buzz on the internet is all audio and video. That is all well and good. But, much of the interactivity of the web is lost in most audio and video applications. You follow a link and either download the file of interest or start to listen and watch the presentation on the internet.

There are several problems with this.

You are probably aware of your own browsing habits and realize that you rarely read everything on a web page that you land on. You tend to rapidly skim over the page to see if it offers what you are looking for. If it does, then you zoom in on the specific items you want and then after absorbing that, you look for links for further information.

Think about the current audio and video technology. How much different is it to have to listen to several minutes of audio or video before you find out whether it has the information that you are looking for. Then, it is often difficult to zero in on the information you need and repeat it as needed.

Furthermore, if the presentation mentions additional resources, it is much more difficult getting to that destination than a simple click.

The W3C is currently working on some of these problems. First of all, they are addressing the possibility of linking into the middle of an audio or video clip. This would allow you not only to find that section in a search engine, but let your website designer give you an index to each file.

Even with that ability though, you are only getting the entry advantages of hyperlinking. At this time, the need for outbound links from audio and video files are still on the distant horizon.

One of the roadblocks to really ramping up the usability of intelligent audio and video on the web is artificially intelligent speech recognition. That will allow the search engines to spider audio and video files and make software populated linking. Currently, you must present a printed transcript of any file to the search engines.

Another required innovation is the ability to make outbound links within audio and video files that will allow the viewer to click out of the currently playing presentation to different or more focused information.

Once those two hurdles are crossed, we will be looking at a world wide web that will be barely recognizable is being related to what we are using today.

In the mean time, don't wait. If you are looking for an area on the web where there is very little competition, the audio and video market are the places to look.

If you don't believe me, look at Care to guess how many video clips are available under the search term 'internet marketing'? As I write this, there are only 123. Can you even remember when there were only 123 competing links for any search on Google?

My advice is to get whatever equipment you need - get the software - and start producing as many quality audios and videos you can. And do it now.