Tech Industry

Multimedia index brings Web order

Little-known Silicon Valley start-up Magnifi unveils software that organizes a searchable index for multimedia content on and off the Net.

A little-known Silicon Valley start-up called Magnifi today unveiled software that organizes a searchable index for multimedia content on and off the Net.

Founded last year by alumni of Apple Computer, MIT Media Lab, and Lotus, the 15-person company has already roped in clients such as Hollywood Online, CNN Interactive, and PBS Online, all of which went live with their new indices today.

For about $15,000 the Magnifi Server 1.0 allows users to selectively locate text, images, audio and video files, virtual reality and animation clips contained within corporate Web sites running the program. The software also organizes and updates an index of all the content on a site or intranet, and then creates thumbnail previews of every item for search results.

For example, when searching for the term "Boris Yeltsin " on CNN Interactive, surfers can select the video option and receive query results with low-bandwidth, freeze-framed video abstract, before taking to the time to download a timely file or a browser plug-in they may not even want. To further tailor results, users can do a "power search" to differentiate between "speech" and "music" in the clips. In this case a video shot of Russia's President grooving at a local teen dance pops up.

The search results also provide the file's size, download time, duration of clip, image dimensions, and creation details.

"Most of the Web sites don't have any search capability or, if they do, the search result to comes out as text. We bring a sense of organization the Net's anarchy," said Eric Hoffert, Magnifi's chairman and CTO.

Companies don't have to change the way they input data or upload multimedia files, Hoffert added.

Magnifi worked with Progressive Networks, NetPower, Macromedia, Sun Microsystems, PLS, and Vxtreme to develop its new media data management software.

The company also said today that ten other major corporations were currently evaluating the product for intranet and Web site use.

"The Hollywood Online SiteSeer, our branded version of the Magnifi server product, is a multimedia search tool that gives our users a whole new way of navigating and enjoying the depth of movie resources we offer," said Michael Rollens, chairman of Hollywood Online.

"Users of our site can locate the specific media they may want such as a short-download QuickTime video of a classic film," he added.