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Thursday, December 16, 2004
Blinkx Beats Google To TV Search
While Yahoo released yesterday a search engine for video, Blinkx came out with one today that searches TV and radio. Blinkx TV Beta has video results from FOX News, CNN, BBC News, Bloomberg Television, ITN, Sky News, C-SPAN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, HBO, ESPN, Sky Sports, E! Entertainment Television, A&E Biography, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, BBC Parliament, National Geographic, and audio results from National Public Radio, Voice of America, BBC Radio 4 & 5, and BBC World Service. You can limit the search to any number of specific sources if you wish.

Blinkx searches the content of the broadcast, not just the title, but does not do so using closed captioning, as Google's reported work-in-progress will. As the white paper explains:
Through the use of fast server-based audio/video-capture cards and a linearly scalable architecture, the blinkx TV platform seamlessly assimilates audio and video from multiple sources including, but not restricted to, terrestrial television aerials, satellite television feeds, cable TV, analog and digital radio and Internetbased content.
Blinkx's algorithm actually watches the program, contextualizing the images and audio, and determines what it is about. It even time-stamps segments of the video, so you are sent right to whatever you are searching for. The entire process is based on speech recognition technology and context clustering, to create a synchronized metadata stream for every video.
not only does blinkx know what was said, blinkx knows exactly when it was said.
This is just a brilliant idea. Google thought closed captioning was the secret to TV search, but Blinkx realized that speech recognition was better. See, speech recognition isn't perfect, but since you only want keywords, you don't need to get every single word. Besides, if you have ever seen live captioning, its actually far worse than any speech recognition program, rife with misspellings and moronic mistakes. Blinkx went with the more powerful solution, and as long as the speech algorithm holds up, its got a great search engine. Blinkx even provides the transcript so you can read that instead, or look at the snippet to know you have the right video, although it says "this is not what is used for searching as a more accurate phonetic algorithm does the matching process". Excellent work, Blinkx.

The search results page is an innovation in itself, featuring animated Flash previews of each video. You actually get to see a few seconds of the video in the results page (if its radio, you see a dancing radio. Cute). You can sort be relevancy or date (very important in the world of TV). Roll your mouse over a thumbnail, and it expands, a cool effect that says "you're dealing with something new". It all combines into a smart, slick package other companies would be wise to emulate.

Blinkx TV integrates very well with Blinkx Smart Folders, allowing users of the product to create a smart folder in which all new clips on a certain subject will be placed. For example, create a Jon Stewart folder, and every time a new Jon Stewart video is made available, you have it in your Smart Folder. Call it RSS for video (or video podcasting) or whatever, the point is that it just works.
(via Search Engine Journal)

UPDATE: Gary Price notes that this is the web release of a tool that was always available to users of Blinkx software, and he points out other video search engines.

Speech recognition? That's nuts. Captioning is where it's at. Google had the right idea.
Totally cool! These guys are way ahead of the game. I'm getting great results. The smart folder is working really well. It's been gathering clips over the last 24 hrs very nicely! I looked at the Yahoo! version earlier today, not impressed.
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