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Blinkx – Web, News, and Desktop Search Engine Tool

Search Tools
Search the Web, the News, and Your Computer with Blinkx

The other day Searchblog ran an item about blinkx, a new web, news, and desktop search application (here’s a screenshot) for Windows (Mac and Mozilla versions are coming soon), that ResourceShelf learned about a few weeks ago. I hope to chat with the company soon. Until then, a quick overview of the blinkx beta release.
Remember, desktop search is all the rage these days. Google has a project and Ask Jeeves just purchased Tukaroo. Hotbot/Lycos has already released a desktop app that isn’t bad (and includes an RSS aggregator). Companies like X1 also offer desktop search tools.

The Basics
+ Free to download and use.
+ Download is fast (about 4.5MB). I did have problems disabling blinx (via the system tray) and then trying to restart it.
+ The company stresses this is a “concept” search tool as opposed to a “keyword” search tool. We’ve heard rumors about where the technology comes from and will try to confirm. An explanation of what this exactly means would be useful.
+ Three types of content are searchable (local documents, news search, and web).
+ Local docuements can include your Outlook, Outlook Express, or Eudora mail files.

A search queries all three content types simultaneously. Each has its own results window in the client.

+ All Search Types
++ Results change immediately as you add or remove terms.
++ Proximity searching with “” appears not to work.

+ Local/Desktop Search
++ Queries material on your hard drive.
++ Document title is provided, roll over the title and a snippet is available.
++ It would be useful if your search term(s) were shown in context.
++ I was not able to tell the indexer to not index specific folders or filetypes. If this feature is available (it should be), I was unable to find the location.
++ Click and document opens.

+ News Search
++ Queries Morevover database.
++ Article title provided.
++ Cursor over the title and a snippet is provided, search term highlighted. It would be useful to be able to see the source of the article at this point.
++ Click and article opens in a new window.

+ Web Search
++ Unable to determine which web database results are coming from.
++ Page title provided.
++ Cursor over the title and a snippet is provided, search term highlighted.
++ Click and page opens in a new window.

blinkx also provides a small toolbar that “floats” near the top of a browser window. Three icons will activate when blinkx finds — “related” local, news, and web content that it believes will be of interest to you as you browse various web pages.

Simply click on a toolbar icon and a list of “related pages” appears. Click again and the page opens. After spending some time browsing the web and reviewing “related” links via blinkx, I found most of this “web” related content not very useful. When looking at news content, I found that blinkx did an OK job saving some time and clicks finding related articles. However, it’s far from ideal.

All of this reminds me of Kenjin, a tool from Autonomy, that was available several years ago. IMHO (and I think many others), it did not work well. Kenjin is no longer available.

+ Another Beta (blinkx Query) provides a web-based tool.
+ Offers same search capabilies as client software (local documents, news search, web).
+ Offers search suggestions and refinements in the left margin. Not bad.
+ Users can “refine” results by selecting one or more snippets and then clicking the “refine search” button.
+ Offers a results visualization tool (java app). It’s similar to what’s available from anacubis, TouchGraph, and others.

Bottom Line
+ A very arly Beta release so it’s somewhat unfair to make more than a few comments/suggestions.
+ In what might be the most important area, relevancy of results, blinkx needs work. I’ve seen worse, but improvements are needed especially with web search.
+ I don’t mind client software but others do and/or are unable to load in the workplace. Web version a good idea.
+ No keyword ads on result pages. Will they eventually appear? How will blinkx derive its revenue? Will the client software move to a fee-based model?
+ Better documentation and an explanation of “concept” searching is needed.
+ You can learn more about the company leadership here.
+ As new search tools go, this is one to take a look at and keep an eye on. We will. More later.


Gary Price is the Editor of ResourceShelf and a librarian, information research consultant, and writer based in suburban Washington D.C.

Category SEO
SEJ STAFF Loren Baker Founder at Foundation Digital

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ...

Blinkx – Web, News, and Desktop Search Engine Tool

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