Monday, November 15, 2004
Blinkx 2.0 Brings Powerful New Features
Blinkx 2.0 launched today, and with it comes some major league features that should cause you to take notice.
Blinkx is a desktop search / web search / toolbar / active bookmarks / inline search system. The Blinkx toolbar resides in the title bar of the window you are using, and allows you to instantly search items in that window, or suggest other items you might be interested in based on either what you are reading, or what you highlight within what you are reading. You can correct spelling with it in programs that don't have that feature, like Notepad. The inline linking option lets the program create links to items relevant to what you are viewing.
The desktop search works like other companies desktop search, except unlike Google's, it updates the search in real time, as opposed to waiting till you hit enter. Unlike MSN's coming desktop search, the toolbar automatically resides in every window, allowing you to search within any program, for example, Word. You can search within archives. You can sort, something Google doesn't allow.
"Smart Folders" are folders you create based on a set of criteria that will contain shortcuts to items that match that search. For example, you can create a "Jeeves" folder, and set it to search the internet for breaking news and blog posts about Jeeves, plus emails you receive and files on your hard drive, and then the folder will be constantly updated with new shortcuts to any items that match that search.
Searches can include practically anything, including the usual (web, email, files) plus multimedia files of all types, blogs, peer-to-peer networks, news sites (BBC, CNN, Fox, NPR, CBS, CSPAN), shopping sites, and Acrobat documents. It can search metadata, including (very importantly) MP3 files, so you can search by artist, album, anything. The web search engine suggests alternative searches, using what it call Implicit Query (figuring out what you're searching for, rather than forcing you to be increasingly specific), lets you search blogs or news, and lets you rank the search results by relevance or date. You can even view your search results as a 3D relational map!
Blinkx is only a 6MB download and needs a 200 MHz PC running Windows 98 or better. In other words, any PC that can still boot.
This is a major improvement over the original release, and puts Blinkx up there with all the major players in this high-profile category. Blinkx is also developing a clustering engine and a TV search engine, so expect this product to continue to grow. Also, regarding a Mac release, Blinkx says:
After a flood of requests from enthusiastic Mac users we're working to get a Mac version out within two months - watch this space!I am very impressed with this product, and will be giving it a tryout. I encourage everyone else to do the same, and let me know what you think.
(via John Battelle)