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Veveo: Smart semantic search to make looking for movies easier for UK viewers

Veveo: Smart semantic search makes looking for movies easierHave you ever been looking for a film and said ‘What’s that one with Carrie Fisher and Rik Mayall in from the nineties?’ and got no further? Veveo is here for you. 

Veveo has been developing what it calls ‘conversational interfaces’ for a while now, working with the likes of Comcast, Cablevision and DirecTV in the US and Rogers in Canada and has told us of plans to bring its services to UK on-demand providers.

To perhaps get a good idea of how life-changing this will be, have a look at the video below. In the screengrab we’ve taken from it you’ll see how easy it’ll be to search for films.

You can get results from searches as vague as ‘Tom Hanks befriends a volleyball.’ Veveo’s technology is smart enough to get a correct match for Cast Away from ‘Hanks’ and ‘voll’.

While Veveo’s Sam Vasisht elaborated on the search process, telling us that the more you used it, the more conversational searches became:

“You could ask it a question like, ‘Show me Bond movies’ and it’d know you were talking about James Bond movies. Then you’d say, ‘show me movies with Sean Connery’ and it’d show you Bond movies with Sean Connery in them, rather than starting again from scratch.”

This conversational approach reminded us a little bit of SwiftKey, the Android predictive text system that gets better the more you use it.

It will also recognise colloquialisms, like ‘Arnie’ if you’re after Arnold Schwarzenegger films and Man United for any Manchester United games or documentaries.

Note that we only used ‘Man United’ as an example; this doesn’t necessarily mean that Veveo will be working with Sky or anyone but Veveo aren’t ruling out anything at this stage. Vasisht wouldn’t reveal any further details at this stage, merely confirming that Veveo had plans to bring its services to UK consumers.

For mobile customers, there’s plans to extend the use of Veveo’s voice search for on-demand apps as well. Veveo’s conversational technology can be used to pull up information about upcoming sports fixtures on phones. While this app isn’t out in the wild just yet, we’ve seen an in-progress video of it working on an iPhone 4S.  

Without wanting to read too much between the lines here, we could see this as a great way to check up on football fixtures, set recordings on the go or queue up a Kubrick movie marathon from your smartphone. As soon as we hear more about Veveo’s plans for the UK we’ll let you know.

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