RealTime IT News

Times Online to Distribute Blinkx Toolbar

The smart readers of the "Times" and "Sunday Times," two of Britain's most respected newspapers, can be even smarter, thanks to Blinkx.

The search upstart partnered with the "Times Online" to offer Times Smart Search, a downloadable search toolbar that combines desktop search, Web search and content feeds from the newspapers' Web site.

Blinkx assesses all the information that the user is actively viewing, and automatically recommends and retrieves relevant content, from local, Web and TV searches, based on context. In addition to a desktop search tool, blinkxTV offers the ability to search and consume television and other multimedia content in its index.

"If you have the toolbar running, it constantly scans any text in your current window. If it can find interesting information related to what you're doing, it goes and finds it," said Suranga Chandratillake, blinkx chief technology officer. "It's about using blinkx's ability to read what's onscreen, understand the information and use that understanding to bring relevant information to the user."

Times Smart Search users will be able to receive Contextual News, a blinkx feature that delivers news related to the specific content a user is viewing onscreen, whether desktop files or Web content.

Chandratillake said the advantage of the toolbar is that users don't have to explicitly and proactively express their interests in order to find related content.

Blinkx also has created a series of customized Smart Folders that automatically update themselves with "Times Online" content based on the topic of the folder as soon as it becomes available. The Smart Folders are available as a separate download.

"Smart Folders are like having a super-simple version of RSS , but one that ties to your favorite paper and delivers that content in the section you're used to," Chandratillake said. "They're a great way for the 'Times' to inject itself into its readers' workflow or interest space."

While blinkx already has 1.5 million users, the "Times" will aid its distribution, he said. No money changed hands in the deal, but there is a place in the toolbar to display contextual advertising, and if that were implemented, blinkx and the "Times" would split the revenue.

Times Smart Search became available as a beta on Thursday.