By Harry McCracken | Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 2:58 pm
Clicker, the search engine for TV shows on the Web that was announced a couple of months ago at TechCrunch50, is now open to the public. I like the idea, the interface, and many of the features, although it’s still rough around the edges in places.
The site’s mission is simple enough: It wants to help you find and watch the video content that’s scattered all over the Web. (It focuses on professional stuff–much of it repurposed from TV, but also original Web programs such as the ones from Revision3.) You can search for shows, stars, and genres, and get results that include individual episodes and where to watch them online. In some cases, you can watch shows right within Clicker; in others, you need to click away to the originating site.
Most of the programming Clicker points you to is free and ad-supported, but if a particular show is available on Netflix Watch Instantly or Amazon Video on Demand, it’ll find it there. There’s also a nifty TiVo-like playlist feature that lets you subscribe to all episodes (or all new episodes) of a show so they’re waiting for you when you revisit Clicker.
Clicker is slick, useful, and fun. The company says that it’s out of beta as of today, but I did encounter some quirks. For instance, I can’t always figure out its search results: I understand why The Dick Van Dyke Show shows up in the search below, but not why it tells me that The New Dick Van Dyke Show isn’t available, or why Associated Press, Alf, and The Bill Cosby Show do.
I also understand why Clicker thinks that Sesame Street is related to The Electric Company–but not why it thinks a show starring Ollie North is.
Lastly, Clicker lets users add information about shows, IMDb style–but when I attempted to post a memorable quote, I got an entertainingly-designed error screen.
Some of these oddities may be launch-day hiccups. In any event, I like Clicker and look forward to seeing it evolve. If you check it out, let us know your thoughts…