Search Startup Tackles the Mac Desktop

Blinkx prepares to release a Mac version of its desktop search application ahead of Macworld to battle Apple's Spotlight technology.

Blinkx Inc. hopes to steal some search thunder from Apple Computer Inc. on the eve of the Macworld Conference & Expo next week.

The startup on Monday plans to release a Mac OS X version of its desktop search application, which automatically returns hard-drive and Web results based on the context of what a user is doing.

Blinkx 2.0 for Mac follows the companys Windows release that was launched in November and focused on a feature called "smart folders." The Mac version also will provide smart folders, which allows users to create folders that are automatically populated with results that match the context of the files in the folder.

Blinkx decided to launch a Mac version because of demand from users to support the operating system, said Suranga Chandratillake, co-founder and chief technology officer at Blinkx.

But the San Francisco company also sees an opportunity to spotlight its search application at a show where Apples own desktop search plans are expected to be discussed and displayed. In June, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced a search technology called Spotlight that Apple plans to build into its next Mac OS X release, named Tiger.

Spotlight is slated to include its own smart folders, which can draw results from a metadata index of mounted drives on a Tiger machine. Spotlight also is supposed to work from within Apple applications such as Mail and Address Book.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Apples search plans.

"While [Spotlights] appealing because Apple has integrated it with the OS functionality wise, its still pretty basic," Chandratillake said. "Its a keyword search engine with metadata support."

Blinkx lets users search without using keywords since results automatically populate a tool bar based on an analysis of the text on a users screen and provides Web results. Its smart folders also extend beyond desktop results to the Web and can be created by simply adding relevant files rather than specifying keywords, Chandratillake said.

Blinkx 2.0 for the Mac will be available as a free download from the Blinkx Web site and supports Mac OS X 10.2.

/zimages/6/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.