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RealTime IT News

A Smarter 'Push' by Blinkx And Disney

Search technology provider Blinkx inked a deal with Disney to promote "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Starting Wednesday, visitors to the Touchstone Pictures promotional Web site for the film will be able to download a Blinkx-powered Smart Folder. The folder will sit on the desktop, receiving continual updates from the site.

Touchstone will push into the folder links to sneak previews, photos, pre-release footage, production updates, news and trailers to keep fans of the Douglas Adams books pumped about the April 29 release of the movie. Users can open the folder at their convenience and click on the links that interest them.

These Customizable Smart Folders can be used by content providers as a multi-media alternative to RSS feeds, e-mail newsletters and blogs. Because the folders include links to external media, they could avoid some of the problems of early push media, such as PointCast, a provider of "push" content that often hogged bandwidth while delivering content to the desktop at inconvenient times.

Blinkx, a provider of a free desktop search tool and the Blinkx TV search service, offers Customizable Smart Folders at no charge, according to founder Suranga Chandratillake.

"We offer the technology for free to people who want to offer their own content," Chandratillake said. In the case of "Hitchhiker's Guide," Blinkx is hosting the Smart Folders on its own servers. "We have an automated system that monitors the content creators' sites and uses those as a starting point for things that appear in the folders," he said.

He's open to licensing the technology to content companies that want to customize the software.

Blinkx also introduced Shareable Smart Folders, which let registered users swap the Smart Folders they've created. Blinkx uses proprietary clustering technology to identify key concepts within an existing group of content, then automatically retrieves content that matches. The Smart Folder technology monitors selected information sources, which can include desktop files, e-mail, the Web and RSS feeds, adding information that matches the concepts being searched for.

When someone shares a Shareable Smart Folder, the actual contents aren't transmitted; instead, the algorithms used to filter contents for that folder are shared, so the contents of the shared folder are replicated.