From our story that will appear in tomorrow’s print Mercury News…

Google is again expanding its technology to enable people to search for information beyond the Web, announcing a service Monday that hunts for content from television news, sports and entertainment shows.

With Google Video, Google is indexing the closed caption transcripts from PBS, C-SPAN, Fox News, the NBA and others.

For now, the Mountain View search engine will not link directly to video content. Instead, when users click on a search result, they’ll be taken to a “preview page” that will show excerpts of the closed caption text alongside relevant still images from the video program.

Where available, Google will also display programming information, such as the date and time the show aired and when it will air next.

“The idea is to help users find programs they know about and find upcoming programming they might want to know more about,” said Jennifer Feikin, director of Google Video.

Clearly, the Yahoo Search team is not going to let Google steal all the good press anymore. So even before the embargo lifted on the Google news, Yahoo announced that it was linking to its new beta video search service from its home page (Google Video is staying in the Google labs for now) and adding the ability to search closed captioned programming.

In and of themselves, these announcements don’t blow our socks off. But stretch the threads into the future, and the possibilities become quite interesting. Suffice it say, we’re thinking a lot right now about the distributed media landscape (blogs, podcasting, RSS, Tivo, videoblogging), the convergence of the Internet and the TV, and which aggregator/search engine is going to cobble together our daily media experiences in the future. And let’s not forget all the copyright and digital rights management issues involved in that. Our heads hurt just trying to think about how this could play out.

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.