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The Internet

Blinkx and You Won't Miss It 182

WebfishUK writes "The Guardian is running this story about Blinkx a a kind of "search companion" which aims to bring internet searches in closer contact to what you are working on. Its total search approach (including email attachments, blogs and local files) seems to have some parallels to Googles Gmail engine. Could this be the first real technology threat for Google?"
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Blinkx and You Won't Miss It

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  • by ack154 ( 591432 ) * on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:56PM (#9710576)
    Maybe it's just me... but "search companion" sounds a lot like "spyware." Let's hope this is not the case with this software ... although, this part kind of worries me:
    Blinkx's planned business model involves getting advertising revenue from contextual adverts, product channels and white labelling, but she emphasises that the search is independent: it is mathematically based and just looks at words and their context. She adds: "It is clean, but users don't know that so we show our advertisements in a different colour".
    I think I'll just stick to Google/Gmail and let them read just my email. I don't need someone also reading all of the data on my PC to serve ads.
    • You're right (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GillBates0 ( 664202 )
      Blinkx has two selling points. First, it doesn't only search the web but simultaneously scours news sites, emails, attachments and your own hard disk. It also searches blogs.

      Google searches blogs too. So their USP is that it "scours" your hard disk and emails and lots of other "local" information as well. That's exactly what spyware does.

      Heck, I think (not sure here) that the Myway and other spywarish IE toolbars provide a search box to search the web while monitoring my "local" activity.

      I really don'

      • Re:You're right (Score:3, Informative)

        by gowen ( 141411 )
        Google searches blogs too. So their USP is that it "scours" your hard disk and emails and lots of other "local" information as well. That's exactly what spyware does.
        Hell, thats what Windows "Find" does, or find . -print | xargs grep

        The important point is *what happens to that data*. Spyware collates it and sends it to its master. Blinkx says that theres doesn't do this.

        So its not spyware.

        Mind the strap on that tinfoil hat.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Unfortunately, Blinkx has an even worse track record than Google [google-watch.org] when it comes to protecting My Rights Online. I installed the beta version of their software onto my "dumping ground box," an old Athlon 700 running on a FIC AZ11 motherboard with Windows XP Professional Edition Service Pack 2, Mozilla Firefox 0.9.2 with Adblock and Flashblock, and OpenOffice.org 1.1.2 SFX edition.

      During my usage of the software, I saw numerous pop-under banners being spawned by Internet Explorer, even when I was using Mozi
      • You do realize that the guy who runs google-watch hates Google for personal reasons, and has a major conflict of interest? Also, why do you sign your post "Seth Finklestein", then say at the bottom "Not affiliated with [SF]"?
    • by Horia ( 602444 )
      On their site it says :

      The blinkx windows client automatically finds web pages, news articles and documents on your machine that are related to the content of your active window.

      Or is it "The blinkx windows client automatically displays ads and questionable links based on spying what you do" ? Haha.

    • I agree. It's hard to trust anyone out there with, but to this point, Google hasn't done anything that makes me worry about the Gmail ads and knowing that it's just displaying them in the page doesn't wory me like anything that is installed on my machine as a "helpful companion." That pesky "Lycos Sidebar" is supposed to be a search companion too, but that's the most annoying spyware app ever. (Damn users and their Internet Exploder.)
    • by xmorg ( 718633 )
      exactly.

      Actually, I think any software that has the word "companion", that is not a real person is either spyware, addware or annoyware.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:57PM (#9710581)
    No.

    Maybe we should update the old UseNet cliche :

    Imminent Death of Google Predicted : Film at 11
  • Woohoo!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by scoot241 ( 794509 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:57PM (#9710582) Journal
    An even quicker way to find porn, music, and movies. If this searches IRC channels too, we'll be set for life!
    • This is so cool I'm surprised they didn't say "in Japan"
    • Last time an article on slashdot recommended Vivisimo and I was blown away by how much better than google it was in many ways. So I wouldn't count out another search engine making google obsolete in the future.

      • Its pretty good, for some things. For quick searches, i'd go with google, the first results tend to be more on target. For research, i might go with vivisimo instead, because of the clustering function.
    • If this searches IRC channels too, we'll be set for life!

      Obviously not your life, as you don't have one.
    • Re:Woohoo!! (Score:2, Informative)

      by Cred ( 754775 )
      I tried finding porn with this.. "free porn" nor "free porn pictures" gave any really free porn picture sites, galleries.
  • Since when.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ..is Google's GMail an engine?
    • Re:Since when.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by ack154 ( 591432 ) *
      Well I'm pretty sure they're just referring to the back end of Google searching that powers Gmail. And speaking of my own use, it's one damn quick and easy search engine for email. I have like 500 emails in just one of my "labels" and I can search and fly through them with no problems. It's my "ebay" label, so I look for specific items or that "one thing" that I bought a while ago and forgot to leave feedback or something like that... but it's quick, efficient, and well... it's Google.
  • by Peter Winnberg ( 518611 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:58PM (#9710595)

    Isn't this just a clone of Dashboard [nat.org]?

    • Grr... I was just about to say "no, Dashboard is the other feature; what you want is Spotlight," before I realized you were talking about GNOME's utility.

      Damn namespace violations!

      But yeah, it sounds like Dashboard + advertising to me.
    • Looks to be very much like it.
      It only seems to work with MS+IE though.
      I was unaware of this dashboard deal... but now I want it.
    • Except that dashboard never reached a first release, and doesn't search the web I don't think.

      Why is it people always try to suggest that something copied open source software? I bet 99% of the people on this planet don't know what the gnome dashboard prototype is. I also bet the Blinx people have no clue, given that blinx is an IE based product.
  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:59PM (#9710606)
    Our Commitment To Your Privacy

    Your privacy is important to us and blinkx makes every endeavor to ensure that all of our products protect your privacy.

    Most importantly, BLINKX NEVER REMOVES, COPIES, FORWARDS, AMENDS OR OTHERWISE MOVES ANY OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION from your COMPUTER (INCLUDING YOUR E-MAILS AND DOCUMENTS). YOUR INFORMATION STAYS ON YOUR COMPUTER.

    blinkx works by comparing relevant information to deliver results, but never uses the original documents. The only actual hard information blinkx collects is your e-mail address when you decide to download the blinkx client.

    We use the information you directly provide about yourself purely for this blinkx beta program. We do not share this information with outside parties and for no other commercial matters. When we receive email correspondence, we use return email addresses to reply with the information requested. Such addresses are not shared with outside parties.

    Should you have other questions or concerns about these privacy policies, please send us an email at feedback@blinkx.com
    blinkx's Website

    This policy only addresses our activities from our servers. Other websites (including those that we link to and third party websites or services that we co-brand) may have their own policies, which we do not control, and thus are not addressed by this policy.

    This site recognizes the home server of visitors, but not their e-mail addresses. This site also uses "cookie" technology so that we can better understand how to improve the experience of visiting our website. Also, blinkx tracks the Internet address of the domains from which visitors are coming and uses this data for statistics and analysis on the levels of success of our web programs, but the name of the visitor remains anonymous.

    The names and contact information of persons who request information about blinkx, its subsidiaries, its products and/or its services are added to our data base, so that they may be contacted in the future regarding blinkx's products, services or future opportunities. This contact may occur by e-mail, telephone or mail, as blinkx deems appropriate. We do not sell or rent any information about our visitors, and we have no plans to do so in the future.

    We use industry-standard efforts to safeguard the confidentiality of your personally identifiable information, such as firewalls and secure socket layers where appropriate. However, "perfect security" does not exist on the Internet.

    You acknowledge that acceptance of this privacy policy, as updated from time to time at this location, is a condition to your use of our website and you agree to be bound by all of its terms and conditions.

    If you have any questions regarding our policies please e-mail blinkx's webmaster at feedback@blinkx.com

    blinkx home page
  • Free advertising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by goldspider ( 445116 ) <ardrake79@@@gmail...com> on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:59PM (#9710610) Homepage
    "Could this be the first real technology threat for Google?"

    Free advertising on The Guardian and Slashdot can't hurt.

  • by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) * on Thursday July 15, 2004 @02:59PM (#9710614) Journal
    Wow, and people made such a fuss over Google reading your e-mail for ads, doesn't look like this is any better:

    And you have to do nothing! Whenever you browse a website, read a news story, check your e-mail or write a document, blinkx automatically delivers suggestions from the Web, news or your local files; which you can view by simply clicking the links or rolling over to get a summary of the information found.

    Not only email, it does everything!
  • Uh... (Score:2, Funny)

    by xenostar ( 746407 )
    For some reason the words "search companion" always make me cringe.
  • The Good and The Bad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by marnargulus ( 776948 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @03:05PM (#9710674)
    On one hand this is obviously potentionally spyware. I mean, it logs everything you do, and advises you to check out such and such. However:
    Did anyone check out that graphical linking system? It was genious. You go to a seed link, and it spiders from there. Graphically representing the links each time. So you search for "frogs" and it starts a "frogs" seed. Then a few branches come out, such as "frog legs", "cromwell's frog" and "horned frog". Then those branch new links as well. And it just keeps going. At first I said "this is stupid, I searched for a broad term, and only get 3 links?" but then I watched as it added sublinks to main links, and was very impressed.
  • There was an article a while ago about using Google to search for "hidden" files and such on servers. There was an interview with a guy who did it and everything. If Google can already do this and Gmail can search your e-mails (some of us lucky ones of course), why do we need a crappy thing to "enhance it"?
    • blinkx is just trying to head off Google, which is working on a utility that will apply Google's search power to your computer.

      Story [nytimes.com]:
      SAN FRANCISCO, May 18 - Edging closer to a direct confrontation with Microsoft, Google, the Web search engine, is preparing to introduce a powerful file and text software search tool for locating information stored on personal computers.

      Google's software, which is expected to be introduced soon, according to several people with knowledge of the company's plans, is the c
  • by tgrigsby ( 164308 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @03:10PM (#9710712) Homepage Journal
    So search engines have gone from searching a dedicated database to searching the text on the internet. Then it was searching images on the 'net. Now they can extend that to searching your email and local drives, all with one interface.

    Cool.

    But if you really want to impress me, make one that can search my house, my pockets, and my kids' rooms for my keys and wallet....

    • But if you really want to impress me, make one that can search my house, my pockets, and my kids' rooms for my keys and wallet....

      Imagine the privacy advocates jumping on that one.

    • by Anonymous Writer ( 746272 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @03:28PM (#9710872)

      But if you really want to impress me, make one that can search my house, my pockets, and my kids' rooms for my keys and wallet

      They have those already. They're called burglars... oh, you meant you wanted something to search for your keys and wallet and return them to you.

  • It sounds like what google ads does anyway from within the unpaid versions of Opera [opera.com].
  • I'm sorry, when you asked if this was a technology threat to google, did you mean to indicate that you'd tried the technology? I'm working on a project on the CRM industry right now and just tried a variety of searches in both blinkx and google, and blinkx was not only less relevant, but also way, way slower.
  • the e-mail part of blinkx only works with outlook (express) and eudora.
  • BBC story (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The BBC [bbc.co.uk] is also running a story [bbc.co.uk] on this.
  • this functionality has existed on OSX for several years now..
  • I think I'll stick to Google on this one. Yeah, it's fairly cool looking, but over my dial up connection, Google actually gives me what I want quickly. This gives me some good stuff, perhaps in a better way that Google does, but it takes a second or two longer. I know I should have patience, but I use Google because it's fast and it's not cluttered. I can't say the same for Blinkx.

    With any luck, this will offer another major engine though. The less people who are using one search engine, the harder i

  • Isn't Blinkx the name of that purple ape on that Bonzai Buddy adware/spyware?
  • Not a threat if... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by caldroun ( 52920 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @03:19PM (#9710813) Homepage Journal
    ...it is "Optimized for IE & Broadband Users". Google is not so.
  • Yeah, Blinkx. I remember this back when it was called "Bonzi Buddy".
  • Review of Blinkx (Score:5, Informative)

    by glinden ( 56181 ) * on Thursday July 15, 2004 @03:22PM (#9710837) Homepage Journal
    A good review [gigaom.com] of Blinkx with some discussion. I've also got a post [blogspot.com] about Blinkx that includes links to discussions of Linux version of something similar (Dashboard) and Microsoft's attempt (Implicit Query).
  • They're not alone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joeykiller ( 119489 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @03:27PM (#9710867) Journal
    Maybe this is a threat to Google, but I don't think the competitors are far behind. Nat Friedmans Dashboard and Sideboard have been mentioned elsewhere, and it seems like Microsoft is planning a similar application themselves [zdnet.co.uk].

    Apparently Google is planning local hard drive searches as well [nytimes.com], in a pre-emptive move against improved search techologies that will be a part of Windows/Longhorn.

    So I guess Blinx won't be left alone for long. However, when it comes to search, the more players the better. Google is well on its way to become the new Microsoft, and I don't think it's in anybodys best interest to get a search monopolist.
    • Blinkx is only a threat to the users who install it.
      it's just YAN popup toolbar for windows, which infests the windows system and makes it's dll's unwritable to all users of the system, except administrator. just what we need, another popup toolbar bringing a flurry of ad windows everytime we do anything in windows, and this one supports firefox and mozilla... instead of just windows explorer and ie... oh and hey, what google is doing isn't reading all your local files to serv targted popup ads, but rather
  • This sounds a LOT like Spotlight [apple.com], a search technology built into Apple's next major Mac OS X revision, 10.4 Tiger. Of course, Blinkx could be anywhere from coincidence to an unusually fast and successful emergency-Apple-ripoff.
  • A search for "google" only brings up pages on *.google.*, and google.com is near the end. Either they don't index many pages or they limit the number of results for each search. (It's also possible that they just hate google.)
  • With these two...

    1) Spotlight
    http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/spotl ight.html

    2) Google
    http://www.google.com

    I won't need anything else. I wish "Search Engines" was a catagory so I could uncheck it and ignore all search engine news. I've got 1 and 2. I'm done.


  • This seems and interesting concept... But could they PLEASE not use light grey text on a white backround.

    This thing is hurting my eyes.

  • Sounds just like the Remembrance Agent [remem.org] for emacs which has been around since about 1996. It's also similar to the Dashboard program [nat.org] that Nat Friedman made for Gnome. There's enough prior art that I have no doubt that blinkx will get a patent.
  • by Croaker-bg ( 784660 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @03:54PM (#9711167)
    This harkens back to the good ole Haystack doo-ma-jiggy that came out of MIT sometime ago (slashdot Here [slashdot.org] and MIT HERE [mit.edu])

    The concept is a simple one. Don't keep things in order in your folders in email or on your machine anymore. Just dump it all in one big place and have a meta engine of some sort index it all for you and then build queries for what you need. Realistically this is a great idea for those folks that had problems using the analog file cabinet for so many years (ala Jimmy James and the file of banana under "bright curved yellow things" for instance). The potential for abuse is really no greater than if M$ were to upload all of your "explorer find" searches back to Redmond. Those of you that us XP when you have to will notice that there is even an option to save a search query now for quick use within the XP shell. All this new company has done is just made it a little easier for the typical end user to create their search meta engine. The MIT one was brutal for a learning curve and more importantly it didnt have a decent place to put advertisements!
  • Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • "search information from your desktop"

    This one feature is enough to know that Blinks is not going any where.

    I don't know why people are still tied to the Desktop. One of the great success of Google is that its not tied to the desktop (yeah, I know they are working on desktop tools too).

    People travel and move, change computers, change system, reformat...blah..blah. All that learning over your desktop is of no good use.

    Beauty of google (web interface search) is i get the same great results no matter where
  • I guess that I'll just stick with `find | grep` and grepping through my mail directories. No biggie, can probably find what I'm looking for quicker anyways.
  • I see a couple of big problems in the future for blinkx (besides the obvious problems of a stupid name and ad pun).

    First off: Blinx requires XP or 2000. Sure, that's a big market, but even in windows, 40% of people still run windows 98.

    IE is required, though mozilla support is supposedly in dev.

    Second of all, did anyone try out blinkx broadband.... what interface woes. Slow, bloated, and the big U word: UGLY! The licence is also not exactly optimal....

  • install a spyware agent on your system? no thanks. i like my data. and i'd like it to be mine. it's up to me alone whether i want to share my data with the wider world. blinkx as a threat to google ? not a chance. google can sleep easy, as i'm sure they are already doing.
  • by LS ( 57954 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @04:10PM (#9711334) Homepage
    Hmm, now that Slashdot is accepting submissions for spyware, I think they should create a new category. They didn't accept my submission for Bonzi Buddy [agentland.com]!!!

    LS
  • I see this as unlikley. Google has technology so advanced it is surrounded by "top secret" style secrecy. In other words we have no idea what Google is working on. What we do know is it is always something revolutionary and suprising. Only time will tell but it is reasonable to expect that Google is already working on the next big thing and is more likley than not to continue to be on the razor edge of technology
  • ... I, like many others I suspect, simply won't install blinkx because it requires IE, which I refuse to use anymore.

    Long live FireFox/Mozilla.
  • by jpsowin ( 325530 )
    Did you even look at their homepage before suggesting they are a threat to google? It is horrible. Their motto is "blinkx And You'll Never Miss It." They can't capitalize their own name but they can capitalize "And." Looks like a spyware company without a webmaster to me.

    Threat? Google? This must be a joke. Maybe Webtek [geocities.com] is a threat as well.
    • blinkx And You'll Never Miss It.

      I know they were trying to come up with a catchy slogan, but it can also be interpreted as "Try Out blinkx And You'll Never Miss It" because you'll never use it again.

  • Does anyone know of a Spotlight-like search mechanism for Win2K? No, I'm not interested in WinFS. I want something that will index every local file/email and let me search it via a live query like Spotlight will.

    I know there are shareware projects like this for the Mac. Does anyone have any experience with shareware products like this for the PC? Anything you like?
  • Worthless (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Skraut ( 545247 )
    What good is a search engine if it can't find me litigious bastards [sco.com]

    Though, it can help you find Slashdot http://us-search.blinkx.com/BlinkxBroadband/?q=lit igious+bastards&x=10&y=6 [blinkx.com]

  • with BlissX, my band. Had to clarify this.;-)
  • I won't even try it until I get some serious assurances that this isn't going to puke spyware on my machine.

    If they were charging money for it I'd be more comfortable with it- it would be obvious where the profit is coming from!
  • You know, for how much Slashdot seems to love Google, I propose they follow in Googles footsteps in terms of advertisers.

    I think they should have a special section at the top of the page where the top three stories are the sponsored stories that always seem to filter in with the rest, but that we inevitably catch.

    This story was nothing more than a press release, and Blinkx has practically zero chance of being a threat to google, especially with the way it generates ad revenue (read some of the other posts h

  • Could this be the first real technology threat for Google?

    Maybe, but it's kind of a moot point because that's a really stupid name. I didn't read the article, and quite frankly I don't have to know that this won't catch on unless it's licensed to/duplicated by someone else who gives it a reasonable moniker.

    "Oh I found it using Blinkx"? What the hell where they thinking...?

    grib.

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