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.
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.
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.