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blinkx Introduces Personal And Thematic Video Playlists

Video search company blinkx on Thursday plans to introduce a new way to browse video clips that makes it easier to discover new content. In so doing, the company could move beyond video search to become more of a video portal.

The company’s redesigned home page now includes “entertain me,” “inform me,” and “give me my own channel” options.

Selecting “inform me” assembles video clips of current events in a playlist, a sort of evening news broadcast without the anchor. Viewers can then watch the clips in sequence, skim through them, or search—for scenes or faces within the video, visually similar scenes, or related videos.

The “entertain me” option creates a similar playlist of amusing videos—cats playing the piano, roller-skating dogs, and so on. It’s an algorithmic version of The World’s Funniest Home Videos, though one that requires a fairly elastic definition of “funniest.”

The “give me my own channel” option is like the previous two except that it allows the viewer to specify the search terms used to assemble the playlist. Entering “iphone programming,” for example, creates a sequence of video programming tutorials for Apple’s iPhone from videos posted all over the Web.

Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO of blinkx, describes the new features as a way to make the online video experience more like television, where one can simply sit back and be entertained.

A unique aspect of the way blinkx presents playlisted videos involves audio tags and metadata tags. Audio tags, designated by an audio icon on the playlist page, represent words spoken within a video. Clicking on the tag link takes the viewer to the point in the video where the transcribed word is said. Other tags reflect video metadata descriptions and, when clicked, they reassemble the playlist based on a search for the selected term.

According to ComScore, U.S. Internet users watched a record 14.3 billion online videos in December 2008, 13% more than in the previous month.