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Blinkx debuts new search technology

Is Google too complicated for you? A new start-up is hoping to make it even easier to find what you want on the Web.

Attempting to take a chunk of business from biggies such as Google, an embryonic San Francisco-based company, Blinkx, has introduced a new search technology that looks up links before the user asks for them.

The free tool, launched this week, uses self-learning algorithms to analyze the content of the documents a computer user is viewing and scout for related information on the Internet or on the user's PC. The product is available for download from the company's Web site, which also offers an animated demo of the tool.

"When we were developing Blinkx, we learned that people really just want to get to their destination. They're not interested in the machinations and complexity of the engine," Kathy Rittweger, co-founder of Blinkx, said in a release.

Once loaded, Blinkx continually reviews what is being displayed on the computer's monitor--documents, e-mails, Web sites, even videos--and finds links related to that material. The tool also monitors what the user is typing. The links can be displayed by moving the cursor across the Blinkx toolbar, which offers drop-down menus showing search results in several categories, including links from the Web, from news sites, from broadcast news sites or from the user's PC.

These links change and refresh as the users scrolls down the page. The user can refine the search by simply selecting a word or a paragraph in the text. And it's also possible to search in the traditional way--by typing a keyword into a search box.

The company says that the software can search through 200 media types, including documents in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Acrobat PDF, as well as video and audio formats.

The privately held company, founded in 2003, is currently upgrading the search engine so it will be able to scour consumers' hard drives and networked computers.

The market for search tools has of late been a competitive arena. In its bid to get ahead, MSN recently revamped its search engine and also bought a company calledLookout Software, which has a technology for searching through e-mail messages.