Google is now indexing TV shows

But before you get too excited,

Search engine analyst Charlene Li of Forrester Research said Google’s latest innovation is likely to disappoint many people because it doesn’t provide a direct link to watch the previously broadcast programming.

Google instead is displaying up to five still video images from the indexed television programs, as well as snippets from the show’s narrative. The search results also will provide a breakdown on when the program aired and when an episode is scheduled to be repeated. Local programming information will be available for those who provide a ZIP code.

It’s still a good feature, but I have to admit that I assumed I’d be able to watch previously aired episodes when I skimmed the Slashdot post. (That’s why I was filled with disbelief, until I actually read the story.)

I’d like to know how they are going to do this. I mean, really. I can understand how the text search is going to work, by using raw data from closed captioning information, but how are they getting the still images? How do they decide what “snippets” to publish? While most of the other stuff may already be available to them in the form of licensed/subscription-based television information from the networks, I’m not sure about these two items. Is somebody going to be doing this by hand? If so, who? If not, will some program do it randomly? I’m not sure what the usefulness would be of that.