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the history of online videos

How online video search evolved from a garage band and coffee pot to the huge boom in 2015

Do you know what the first video was that people watched the Internet?

In 1993 a couple of guys from DEC Systems Research Center, Xerox PARC and Apple Computer were in a garage band named Severe Tire Damage (or shorter – STD). In June 1993 they did something revolutionary for that time – they decided to broadcast their performance worldwide on the Internet. Using very primitive conditions for today’s standards, they became the first band to broadcast online live video and audio worldwide on the Internet!

Little things that frustrate us

Just a few months later that same year, the first webcam static footage was streamed to the Internet, known as The Trojan Room coffee pot. This particular broadcast was created due to a very, very real problem – lack of coffee – and employees working at the Computer Laboratory of University of Cambridge drank a lot of it.

one of the first online videos

The coffee machine was far away and the employees were frustrated after walking all those stairs and hallways only to find an empty coffee pot. So, since they worked in a computer lab, they connected an old camera to the computer and made a program they called XCoffee.  The camera was placed next to the coffee machine and the first webcam that could display a live image on computers on network (of the pot) was created.

An era of online videos

Since then, online video evolved so much that in 2015 it became huge! And it’s not just those super cute babies and funny cats (although if you really wanted to, you could find serious texts on how cat videos won the Internet). It’s serious business and search engines are highlighting content that has online videos in it because it engages users. It can really help in making web pages rank higher and get more visibility.

When Google started out in 1998, it offered only search of web pages on the Internet. Soon, users started expecting more – not just web pages but best available information in any and all formats. This led to 2008 and the start of universal search – no matter what kind of content it was, Google could find it. This was called a blended search and it provided the most relevant information for the user in the fastest time possible. It meant that video started becoming highly visible for search engines.

Everything changed on that Valentine’s day…

But not just any video. Everything changes for online video on Valentine’s Day 2005 when YouTube was launched, and even more when Google acquired it in 2006. Today, search engines like Google prefer websites that have videos.

In other words, if you have a video incorporated in your website, it will be more visible for YouTube and Google that are ranking as top search engines for video content (the study, conducted by Searchmetrics found that 80% of video integrations at Google came from YouTube, as opposed to other video sites).  

Why is video starting to make such a difference in searching the Internet?

watching online videos

Firstly, it’s the clicks

When you watch an online video, you have to click to start it or pause, to move forward and backwards or to resize it on your screen. These are four or five clicks more than you need when opening up a text and reading it.

And these metrics – number of clicks a website is getting – are relevant to search engines in ranking search results. It makes a huge difference whether your site will be buried into deep dark sea or will it see the light of day on the first page.

But it is not just the clicks.

It is also the time visitors spend on the websites. You guessed it – video can lengthen the visit. Research shows that users spend extra 2 minutes on websites that have video.

All sites have text, but not all of them have video. The competition is not as fierce, and there are better opportunities of getting at the top of the search list. On other ways of making your business service a success despite the competition, check out this article.

So, just like a video of a coffee pot – many of our greatest inventions come from frustration over little things in our everyday lives. And, on the internet, there is always a next big thing – and it seems that video is taking over in this race with majority of marketers increasing their digital video budgets in 2016.

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