I’m not sure exactly when Google went live with this, but they have a new web service in beta called Google Video. Google has been archiving the text from closed captioning text that’s broadcast along with shows on a few channels since December 2004. Along with the archived text, they are also taking screenshots of the show at random times. Google Video gives you the ability to search through broadcast television based on actual content. When you search for a broadcast you get a summary page that has snippets of content in the form of text, along side the corresponding screen capture. Here’s an example search done for The Simpsons. While this doesn’t provide you the video yet, it does provide you with an easy way to recall which episode of a show you saw the other night. It’s also handy for picking out one-liner’s from your favorite comedy such as Family Guy.
Bold text denotes speculation.*
* Only valid in lower 48 states, on days that end in “y”.