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The blinkx / Autonomy Relationship

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Over the past few days I received an email asking just who owns and runs blinkx and blinkx.tv. JD also blogged about an email he received last week.

Late last week, I had an email exchange with Blinkx CEO, Suranga Chandratillake, where he answerd a few questions about company ownership and Blinkx in general.

From Suranga's email:

Autonomy is not one of blinkx's shareholders. We [blinkx] enjoy a close relationship with them (Autonomy) but that's because (I was there for years (including as US CTO) and have lots of friends there, (b) we are an OEM customer of theirs, and so depend on them in a number of ways technologically. Under the terms of the OEM agreements, under certain circumstances, Autonomy does have an option to invest in blinkx.

Technical Issues
Suranga tells me that blinkx.tv and derivative products like RSS, Smart Folders, etc) use transcription search for some or all sources of data. In some cases with Blinkx.tv you are only searching metadata. He didn't specify which sources offer transcription search and which ones don't.

blinkx does not use transcription to index local media files (let's say a video of your trip to Montreal). "This is because there's a pretty reasonable CPU overhead in doing transcription and most of our client users don't have massively powerful PCs," according to Chandratillake.

The Technology
blinkx uses Autonomy technology for both blinkx and blinkx.tv but Chandratillake said blinkx, "also depends pretty critically on what we've built in-house."

He writes:

For example, the core speech recognition and video analysis comes from Autonomy (and to a lesser extent some of the things they got in acquiring Virage) (some of which is patented)... but then the web-video spidering, the massively parallel way we process everything and the visual-cue-crawling that lets us associate metadata with videos is all in house. Similarly, the core pattern-match operation that happens when the client matches a screen of content on your PC to a web page is Autonomy technology but then, all of the local indexing, the screen-scraping, the automatic extraction of what the key areas of the screen are (so we don't get dragged off into suggesting content based on an ad or header by mistake) are products of in-house blinkx developed.

blinkx currently has a staff of about 26 with about 18 of working on th engineering side of things.

Btw, here's a fast fact. Virage, the video search technology company that Autonomy acquired a few years ago was founded and led by Bradley Horowitz, who now works at Yahoo.


Postscript: Phil Leigh has a podcast interview with Suranga that was recorded in July. You can find it here. Once on the page scroll to the July 6, 2005 entry.


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