28 Video search: Blinkx

David Benson

 

Introduction

This is Blinkx.  It is a video search tool. Someone should use Blinkx if they are looking for a specific current video they have heard about or if they are simply trying to spend a few hours scouring through videos that may or may not be enjoyable to watch. It is a very good way to waste (sometimes) the better part of a day if you get too caught up in the site. It is similar to other video search sites but is slightly different than a site like YouTube in that it does not actually have all the videos on the site; it allows you to click a link that will then produce the video sometimes. It technically is still under the Blinkx URL but you are watching it through a connection with another site. I will explain this further in the instructions portion of this chapter. Blinkx also offers some specialized search tools you may not know about that I will also discuss in the instructions.

How to use

On the front page of the site, Blinx claims to have 35 million hours of video. With this much information it is clear that there is not one specific way every user is going to move forward with this site. The most noticeable part of Blinx is the “wall” of videos playing on the front page:

You can hover over one of the videos and see a little bit of what you would see in the whole video. You can click whichever one you want to watch the whole video, and you can also get different walls of videos for different categories such as business or sports. There is much more to the site than the wall, and I am going to walk through 4 different ways you can use the site.

1. General Search

The search bar is right on the front page near the top. We have all done a basic search so there is really no new information here, but there is something a Blinkx user should know about. I searched for the song “What” by Bassnectar. When you search, a video automatically starts playing. You can search from videos by date, relevance, or even get an RSS feed of your search. I only got a 20 second preview of the video because it was a YouTube video. When that preview ended, here is an image of what came up:

This is troublesome because it does not actually give you the video on the Blinkx site. Sorry if you cannot see this, but there is a button you must click,  the “This video can be viewed on a partner website link (the “watch now” button)” if you want to watch the full video. When you click that you want to view the full video, it opens a new window. This is the URL of the new window.

http://www.blinkx.com/watch-video/bassnectar-what-video-ft-jantsen-vava-voom-2012/RexjSkJMZNv-0wBR-0-PEg

As you can see, it is still part of Blinx, but the video is being channeled through YouTube. If you scroll down on the new window, you will see this:

You have the option of choosing between related videos, popular videos, or videos in the same category as the original video. This is a cool tool that gives you a lot of options if you just feel like you want to keep searching. The same category label is the only problem I can see with this specialized tool. Bassnectar is music, but for the same category I am getting videos like “Orange County Bail Bonds Video”. Not very musical.

Advanced Search

Another portion of the General Search tool on Blinx is the advanced search tool. Right next to where you type in your general searches, there is a button that is called “Browse Blinx”. Click on this button and you will see  “Advanced Search” as an option. Once you are in advanced search, you are given these options:

You can also restrict by sources. They have many sources to choose from:

2. Inform me

This is an option people can choose if they are just looking to stay current on the news. There is a button on the front page that says “Inform Me”. When you click that you are sent to Blinx’s news portion of the site. A current news video immediately starts playing, and on the right hand side of the page there is a play-list of current news videos. This is pretty much like an MSNBC.com site (structured news delivery) with the way the news comes in, but it is just a video version of that. Another feature of the Inform Me tool are the “Scenes in this video”, “Faces in this video”, “Visually similar scenes”, and “Similar Videos” options at the bottom of the page. These are all self-explanatory but necessary to mention because they all could lead someone to watch more interesting videos they would not have seen without this tool.

3. Entertain me

This is the best part of the site. Okay, well I guess I should say my favorite part. All you have to do is click this button on the homepage and it will immediately take you to a usually funny video. There are no special features here, just a rolodex of great videos that you can scroll through.

4. Give me my own channel

When you click on the give me my own channel button, all you need to do is type in a word or phrase and you will get a channel of videos related to what you have typed. This is just like the “Inform Me” and “Entertain Me” channels; just you get to pick what the videos are going to be of.

Comparison with Google Web search

This part is a bit tough to explain. Google’s video search is pretty much exactly like Blinx’s general video search. When I search for Bassnectar “What” in Google, I get 5.7 million results with the top ones being exactly the same as Blinkx. Blinkx only gives me 187 videos, but once you get above around 20 a lot of your relevant videos won’t be there anyway for many searches. The Inform Me, Entertain Me, and Give me my own channel buttons are the big plus for Blinx. When I search for Current News on Google, this is what I get:

There are news sites with videos, but none of them are as good as the videos Blinx already has compiled for someone searching for current news. Google also has no option of being able to just get a random flow of videos going. The Entertain Me part of Blinx separates itself from Google. The user does not even need to have a video in mind when searching, whereas with Google you kind-of need to have an idea.

How to get the most out of it

For a video search site like this it is hard to really go above and beyond as the user. You can sign in and connect with Facebook or Twitter so your friends can see what you watch on Blinx and vice-versa, but that is about it. I think the real way to get the most out of this site is to explore all of the options I previously discussed. You can learn a lot just by watching the videos you will run into.

Recommendation

I would use Google for specific videos but Blinx for browsing random videos. If I needed a video and knew exactly what the name of it was, I would use Google’s general search over Blinx. With Blinx you need to go through a lot of steps and different windows just to get to the video, and the previews that play immediately when you search can be very annoying. Google is just a search and click and you are there. It is a lot simpler. However, I would not use Google for everything. If I wanted to go online and watch random videos, I would definitely choose Blinx. The ability to mindlessly search interesting videos through the Inform Me, Entertain Me, or Give me my own channel options is something people need to take advantage of. You may not see an academic need for this, but you may absorb information you did not know was even out there without these options. The similar video options are better on Blinx as well so if you are searching for a video and would like to see more videos related to it, then I would use Blinx. Google and Blinx are equal when it comes to searching for music as I said because both use YouTube as a way to deliver the music, but things like news searches on Blinx give you nice related videos whereas Google does not. There are many reasons why Google is used so much, but there are sites out there like Blinx that provide a user specialized options that can be used advantageously.

About the Author

David Benson is a Junior at the Michigan Ross School of Business. He will be graduated in December 2013 with a BBA and a focus in Finance. He has worked in the Accounting department at multiple firms and has aspirations of becoming an investment banker. He would like to dedicate this chapter to his mother. She is the best around.

 

License

Video search: Blinkx Copyright © 2013 by David Benson. All Rights Reserved.

Feedback/Errata

4 Responses to Video search: Blinkx

  1. karinap on November 29, 2012 at 4:21 am says:

    I really enjoyed reading this chapter and thought it was a great progression of Blinkx’s capabilities and when and when not to use it. I just have a few suggestions that I think could make this chapter that much better and help the reader better understand what Blinkx is. First, just in terms of grammar, I found two very small errors:

    First, in your “general search” explanation, I found the sentence beginning with “This search pulled from what is a YouTube…” kind of confusing. I would try to rephrase it to make it more along the lines of “This search retrieved a video that was originally from Youtube.com…”. This just makes more sense to me as a reader. Next, after the link you pasted in of the video (still under general search), in the first sentence you wrote “As you can see, it is still part on Blinkx” when it should say “part of Blinkx”. As for grammatical/spelling errors, those were all I noticed.

    As for your images, I think they are a bit too hard for the reader to read. I would try to zoom in a bit on the part of the image that you want to focus on and re-paste them. A lot of times you say things like “you will see this” when referring to an image, but the reader can’t actually tell what the image is. This would just make it more clear for the reader.

    Finally, just a few suggestions for content: Do you know how the Entertain Me videos get chosen? Are they just “hot” videos of the moment? Also, in your description, the “Give Me my own channel” description sounded like it was basically the same thing as a general search, is there anything that distinguishes the button from the general search bar? One other thing I think is important to mention when comparing to Google is that Blinkx does not have suggested searches like Google does. I think this is a big setback when searching for a song or something of the sort but don’t remember the artist or name.

    Finally, one other way that a user could really make the most of this tool is by creating RSS feeds of the searches that he/she does a lot and to keep up with certain video information/content. Also, I think there is a capability on Blinkx to build your own video playlist. I would talk about that as well. With implementing these suggestions, I think the reader will fully understand what Blinkx is and your chapter will be even more informative than it already is.

  2. rcreddy on November 29, 2012 at 11:37 pm says:

    Great job on the chapter; however, there are a few things you could add/change in order to make it that much better.

    Formatting: Solid. Easy to follow.

    Writing: There were quite a few spots where you got pretty long winded in your sentences, and there were other areas where the wording didn’t make sense. Here are the ones I found.

    1) Under General Search: “This search pulled….preview of the video.” (Maybe why you only got a 20 second preview would clear it up, but I don’t really get the wording. Just condense it into “I only got a 20 second preview of the Youtube video.” )

    2) Under Inform Me: Another feature of the…bottom of the page.” (Other features…are. You need to use the plural.)

    3) Under Entertain Me: “Okay well I guess I should say my favorite part.” (There probably should be a comma after ok, but thats more semantics)

    4) Under Entertain Me: “All you have to do…very funny videos.” (Another run on sentence. Maybe do ‘homepage, and it will take you to a funny video’)

    5) “When you click on…you have typed” (Stick a comma after ‘phrase’)

    6) Under Comparison: “Google’s video search…I have described” (take out the ‘I have described’)

    7) Under Comparison: “When I search for…same as Blinx” (Comma after Google. Change to Same as Blinx’s.)

    8) Under Comparison: “but I think once…many searches” (Change to something like: Once you get around 20+, a lot of…)

    Links/Images: links were fine. Images could be a bit larger/clearer so that the reader can follow along much more easily. You could even add some more so that it becomes easier for readers to understand what you are talking about since Blinx isn’t as well known.

    Evaluation: You made your standards clear and made the comparison to Google as required by the rubric set.

    Content/Length: Good

    Inform/Analysis: Yes, but it could be improved. In addition to the recommendations made above, I would ask you to look into more comparisons with Youtube. Even though YouTube isn’t directly a part of Google Video, Google is the parent company, and YouTube is a major player in the industry. For instance, on the point of “Entertain Me,” I could go on Youtube and waste countless hours looking up random trending videos. Wouldn’t that be solid competition to Blinx’s stated benefit? Also, you mention how Youtube only allows 20 sec previews on Blinx. Why, and how does that affect Blinx users? Wouldn’t they just rather go straight to YouTube?

    Those are just some things to consider before the final draft in order to make the chapter a bit more comprehensive, but still, nice work.

  3. rcreddy on November 29, 2012 at 11:38 pm says:

    Also, the smiley face isn’t supposed to be there. It’s an 8. Weird…….

  4. plockrow on December 4, 2012 at 7:50 am says:

    You did a great job explaining the features of Blinkx in this chapter and you definitely explained your opinions on what features you liked most and what turned you away. However, there are a few things that could bolster this chapter.

    First I will talk about the formatting of the chapter and how I think you could explain some of the features in a little more detail. Then I will give you some recommendations of other features to talk about or to expand upon in the chapter.

    1: INTRODUCTION
    a. In this section I think it is important to lay out the foundation for the chapter. Instead of hitting on a few features, let the reader know what you are going to talk about going forward. Briefly explain aspects of the site such as search tools and specialized tools and the wall. Put everything you will talk about in this part so that the reader can know what to expect.

    2. GENERAL SEARCH
    a. I would change the image. It is very difficult to see so when you referred to it I was very unsure of what I was looking at. Maybe create a snap shot that is a little bigger or in higher quality.

    b. I think if you are going to talk about the “same category” section and talk about it deficiencies it is important to use two separate searches. It could just be that the one query you explained didn’t work as well as you’d liked it to while another might give you exactly what you wanted.

    c. You talked about the negative aspect of the youtube videos that were found on Blinkx. I like the personal touch but I am curious as to why this is so. Are they copy write issues? Did youtube only allow them to source their videos if they included this aspect? You may want to explore this a little further.

    2: INFORM ME
    a. I thought this part was very well written. The only thing I would change or explain further is when you referred to it looking like MSNBC. Unfortunately, I do not know how MSNBC works so a little more detail would be great.

    3: ENTERTAIN ME
    a. I would like to know a little bit more about this section. You talked about how it is one of your favorite aspects of the site, but why is that exactly? Is there a way it tailors videos to specific users? If so, it would be helpful to know.

    4: GIVE ME YOUR OWN CHANNEL
    a. I really like this aspect of Blinkx. However, it would really help the reader if you included a picture of the channels that come up when you enter a query.

    b: Also, I would advise you to keep it consistent when you talk about search tools. For example, when you say, “When you click on the give me my own channel button, all you need to do is type in a word or phrase and you will get a channel of videos related to what you have typed. This is just like the Inform Me and Entertain Me channels,” I would make sure to put quotations around “Inform Me” and “Entertain me”

    5: COMPARISON
    a. In this section I would definitely include an image of the search you did in Blinkx using the same query as the one for Youtube, otherwise, the user is lost as to how it is any different.

    6: HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF IT
    a. I would use this section to summarize all the search tools and ways to use the site in a organized fashion. I, personally, think bullets would really help in this section. This would help for skim value purposes and make sure the reader doesn’t miss out on some of the most useful capabilities Blinkx offers.

    7: Recommendation
    a. In this section I would set the context from the start. For instance, you should explain how they are different immediately.

    “I would use Google for specific searches and Blinkx for browing for random videos.”

    This lets the reader know exactly the main difference between the two sites.

    b. After which, I think you should definitely summarize the pros and cons of each. It really should take everything you have written in the chapter and briefly explaining the positives and negatives of both video search tools.

    b. I would look into the different search tools a little further as well. I didn’t feel sold that certain features were better then others. An example of this is when you describe the news section as a “need.” How is it a need really and why should I use this as opposed to youtube?

    c. You did say earlier how the music options rendered different results for youtube and Blinkx, but in this section you didn’t specify which one you preferred. I would look into this to make sure you are consistent in the chapter.

    OVERALL
    You did a great job explaining how you felt about the site and how it differed from a google search. I would expand on that personal part, however, and get into more detail about the workings of the site. There are a lot of aspects that could still be explored. For example:
    – More detail about the wall
    – How to use RSS Feeds for your searches
    – The separation of World and US news
    – Aspects of the site such as “Visually similar scenes,” Faces in this video,” and “tags” are also elements that I would explore in more detail
    – Talk about the currently trending section
    – It would be nice to know what the sources are of blinkx
    – Talk about the filters it offers. There are many that were not mentioned. Go into detail about the advanced search option. Talk about how to sort by relevance and date. Explain how you can sort by sources. And go talk about all those other aspects that can make the user experience better.

    Overall great work, I think this is a great start for what can be a very detailed informational video about a great video search site.

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