Blinkx offers automatic search on desktop

Free Pico tool searches for news, blogs, video and other content related to what's on a user's screen.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read
Search company Blinkx is set to unveil on Tuesday a new free downloadable tool that analyzes what a user is reading or writing, automatically conducts a Web search for related information, and alerts the person via desktop icons when it finds it.

Rather than a person having to go to a search engine to look for information, the 1-megabyte Pico program does the work, inferring what the user would be interested in from the context of the text that's on the Web page or Word document currently displayed on the screen.

Pico pulls up relevant news articles, Web pages, blog postings, video, images and Wikipedia entries, as well as products from shopping sites and information on people from the MySpace.com social networking site. The items are refreshed constantly, based on what's on the screen at any given time.

When Pico finds relevant information, icons in a toolbar at the top of the screen representing different types of data light up. Consumers can click on the icons to see the items, or they can use a keyboard shortcut to view all the found relevant items in one view.

Users also can create Smart Folders to save information on specific topics, and the Blinkx technology will continue to populate the folders with items even when people are working on unrelated subjects.

The company hopes to make money off the free consumer program through contextual advertisements displayed at the bottom of the results.

Blinkx offers Web-based video and podcast search services, desktop search and a service that lets people search for video content and upload results to an iPod or portable video player. The company uses contextual search technology, rather than keywords like other search engines.