Blinkx Tests Video Search

Taking its cue from Yahoo!, search engine Blinkx launched a beta version of its own video search engine--one day after Yahoo! released Yahoo! Video Search. The service, dubbed Blinkx TV, makes news, sports, and entertainment easily searchable in transcript form by capturing and indexing video and audio streams directly from TV and radio broadcasters.

"Groundbreaking automatic transcription technology, which transcribes content straight from the cable box on the fly or from video already stored on the Web, together with advanced phonetic matching speech recognition technology, automate the process of searching TV clips for the first time," explained Blinkx founder Suranga Chandratillake in a statement.

Users of Blinkx TV can now group specific searches using "smart folders" that continuously collect multimedia from providers like Fox News, HBO, ESPN, NPR, and the BBC World Service. Blinkx's patented context clustering technology overcomes the limitations of simple keyword methods. Chandratillake said the main difference between Blinkx TV search and other video search tools is that Blinkx TV searches satellite feeds, not just video on the Web.

"Blinkx is continuing in their role as an industry prod, keeping the bigger search engines on their toes," said Gary Stein, an analyst at JupiterResearch. A reality check followed: "I doubt Blinkx would even show up on a search market-share pie chart, and I really can't imagine anyone ever telling me they just 'Blinkxed' something."

The move is consistent with Internet and search companies' current interest in multimedia search. Along with Yahoo!, Google is currently recording and indexing TV programming, and Microsoft is developing a search engine for video. The predominance of broadband and the convergence of PC and TV technologies are being credited with the industries' piqued interest in video search.

Would Blinkx consider selling its unique search technology if a Microsoft or Ask Jeeves came knocking? "We've grown pretty attached to our independence," replied Chandratillake. "But everyone has their price."

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