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Mining for Video Gems

How blinkx aims to become the Google of video.

Every single minute, 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Add to that the hundreds of TV shows now available to watch on the Internet, and the sheer volume of video posted online quickly overwhelms. How do you find the good stuff?

blinkx, a video search company, creates some stylish order around the vast video haul. blinkx bills itself as the world’s largest video search engine and says it has indexed more video, audio and TV shows on the Web than anyone: 35 million hours of it. Chief Executive Suranga Chandratillake figures that’s about two-thirds of the video content online. The other third is mostly locked up, requiring payment or passwords to view it.

British-born Chandratillake, 31, founded blinkx five years ago in San Francisco after serving as chief technology officer in the U.S. for U.K. Internet search firm Autonomy. He predicted that people would be watching more video and would need a better way to find it. “Video search is difficult,” he says, explaining that most video search looks for descriptive text in tags attached to the video, which can be incomplete or misleading. blinkx uses speech recognition, visual analysis and scene change detection, which enable a more accurate search as well as the ability to search within videos for specific words or people.

blinkx got a head start by licensing Autonomy’s software, which was designed primarily for use within large companies. (Autonomy has a 10% stake in blinkx.) Chandratillake started with a dozen programmers to refine the software to better locate and categorize video for the average viewer. The site now has channels that give you the day’s news, entertaining videos or the TV shows you want to watch.

blinkx went public in May 2007 on the aim market in London. The company licenses its technology to Ask.com, Real Networks and some Microsoft ( MSFT - news - people ) sites in the U.K. Much of its $13.9 million in revenue in the year through March 2009 came from advertising revenue it shares with hundreds of travel and how-to partner video sites such as Howcast and Geobeat.

As the amount of online video balloons, Chandratillake aims to have his index of it keep up. “We are making our search bulletproof around different content,” he vows.