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Blinkx launches desktop search for Mac

Search firm is one of the first to cater to Apple's loyalist audience--but it will have to compete with Tiger.

Blinkx will introduce a version of its desktop-search software for the Macintosh next week, making it one of the first specialists to cater to Apple Computer's loyalist audience.

Still, the San Francisco-based company must compete with Apple itself, which already offers tools to find files on the desktop and plans improved search features in its upcoming Tiger OS release in the next several months.

The Apple update, says Blinkx co-founder and CTO Suranga Chandratillake, proves that search on the Mac is still a problem. Blinkx's free downloadable software can be a valuable answer for Mac users, Chandratillake said.

Blinkx's proposition is to give people a way to automatically organize folders of information without much work. Its technology, introduced last year, continually probes the PC and Web for files related to a designated topic or set keywords. Searchable files include e-mail, HTML, images, Office documents, and most recently, video clips.

Desktop search is an explosive new area of growth for many technology companies, including Apple and the more dominant operating system maker, Microsoft. Improved search features not only serve their customers, but they hold valuable commercial promise for many companies, including Blinkx, which plans to eventually add product placements or sponsored search results to its desktop service.

Already, the commercial search business is worth an estimated $4 billion annually.

In recent months, Google, Microsoft and Ask Jeeves have started testing desktop search tools for the PC. Yahoo also has said it plans to introduce beta software in the coming weeks.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said previously that his company plans to develop desktop search for Apple users eventually.