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
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
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
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.