RealTime IT News

Blinkx Brings Desktop Search to Macs

Blinkx will bring its context clustering technology to the Macintosh desktop on Monday, as the San Francisco search upstart plans to release Blinkx 2.0 for the Mac loyalists. The free tool will include the same functionality and search strategy contained in Blinkx 2.0 for Windows.

"Blinkx reverses what you do in search," said Blinkx co-founder Suranga Chandratillake. Instead of the user typing in a search query, Blinkx assesses all the information that the user is actively viewing, and automatically recommends and retrieves relevant content based on context.

For example, Blinkx can infer from the content on the user's screen whether to retrieve information on Apollo the space program, the Greek god or the theater in London.

It also offers "smart folders," which automatically update their content as new information becomes available based on the ideas already contained within the content of the files.

"Smart folders extend the desktop folder concept," Chandratillake said. When a user right-clicks on an existing folder, Blinkx 2.0 automatically searches the hard drive and adds anything that it finds to be related.

Besides content from the desktop and Web, including PDFs, ZIPs, MP3s and JPEGs, Blinkx 2.0 supports many Mac-specific applications, including the Safari browser, the Entourage e-mail client and QuickTime.

Blinkx is the first company to offer a third-party desktop search tool for the Macintosh, and the release is timed to the Macworld conference to be held in San Francisco next week.

Apple provides Sherlock, a desktop search tool, as an integral part of its operating system. The company will upgrade the search functionality to include the ability to save queries as smart folders. Dubbed "Spotlight," the technology will be integrated into the taskbar and provide content indexing. Spotlight will be delivered as part of the Tiger OS, which the company plans to release in the first half of this year.

Chandratillake doesn't believe that desktop search will replace Web search services.

"Users told us that, while they use Blinkx and will click on the links, it doesn't diminish the number of times they do a Web search," he said. "Blinkx is not a replacement for search; it's an addition to what they do normally."