The Sciences

Over a Year After YouTube Ban, Military Launches "TroopTube"

Reality BaseBy Melissa LafskyNov 12, 2008 8:58 PM

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Remember when the military announced it was cutting off troops' access to YouTube, MySpace, and other video-uploading sites because of bandwidth and "security" problems—i.e. they were worried about videos like this getting uploaded and watched around the world? Well, now it seems they've reconsidered that decision—sort of. Now, the military is launching its own user-generated site, called "TroopTube" (insert joke here). While registration is required, it allows members of the armed forces, along with their families, to gain a password and start uploading content. The site can also be accessed by civilian Defense Department employees and "supporters," whatever that means. So given the restricted access to the site, will troops be free to upload anything they like? Hardly. According to the AP, "a Pentagon employee screens each [upload] for taste, copyright violations and national security issues." Which takes care of any questions about whether or not any of those cell phone videos from combat zones will ever make it onto the site. On the technology end, TroopTube might even have something to teach its juggernaut predecessor:

[T]he [creator]'s real forte is making sure searches on the site turn up the best video results. Delve's system turns a video's sound into a text transcript. It pares unimportant words like "this" and "that," then compares what's left against a massive database of words commonly uttered in proximity to each other, collected from crawling hundreds of millions of Web pages.

The result: Even if speech recognition software trips on the one word someone is searching for, there's a good chance [the site] can still deliver relevant results.

Though if it really wants to surpass YouTube, all TroopTube needs to do is make a profit.

Related: RB: Could Twitter Be a Tool for Terrorists?

RB: Whales Battle U.S. Military…and (Probably) Lose

RB: How Green Is My Army?

Image: iStockPhoto

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