There’s been a lot of news in the past week. You can check with the usual suspects if you haven’t already. Rather than re-hash what others have covered, we decided to take a more in-depth look at the new blinkx it widget. What is blinkx it?
From their web site,
Now, say you wanted to embed a link to some related videos into your blog. With the blinkx it widget you can. blinkx it will retrieve results based on the text it finds on the URL you give it. Even if the website changes, blinkx it will still retrieve the most relevant results for it.
Here is an example of the blinkx it widget with this post as the source of the text.
To get the widget, you can go to the blinkx it page and select a platform. If you choose Blogger or Xanga, you will receive instructions on how to enable blinkx it on those platforms. The third choice is non-platform specific. You will need to enter the URL of the page for the blinkx it widget and in return, you will be presented with the embed code to cut and paste. There are the optional div tags that will help the blinkx engine focus on specific parts of the page to be searched for relevance.
The process is relatively painless and in the cases of Blogger and Xanga, subsequent posts can be automatically or easily enabled for the blinkx it widget. For others however, you will be left to fend for yourselves if you want the widget on multiple posts.
We’ve been testing blinkx it for a few days now. Originally, it began on StickiWidgets but we did not feel that the video search results were as good as we would like. Even adding the div tags to focus the search, we still felt that the results were lacking. In all fairness the subject matter of this site is probably not conducive to returning quality videos.
Overall, we felt that the widget had potential but fell short on a few points. The design of the blinkx it widget was a bit plain and in our testing, the Flash layering on different browsers produced different results. Mainly, the Flash widget would overlay parts of the HTML and result in unclickable links that happen to be underneath. We do not know if this problem was purely on the widget or in part specific to the test pages. In either case, we are not sure that we are sold on hiding the video list until the user expands by clicking the widget. We feel that it maybe better to provide a more customizable widget and display the video list on default, without action from users.
As we mentioned earlier, the search results were not that impressive. To provide a fair evaluation, we added the blinkx it widget to another blog with more popular and main stream content. The second test returned much better results. As blinkx develops and adds to their search, this will improve even more.
Bloggers have questioned the usefulness of blinkx it. In its current state, we would have to agree with them. While it does have potential, it does need some improvements before wide spread adoption among bloggers. For example, we found it unfriendly to have to either grab the code from the blinkx it page or cut/paste and manually edit the embed tag. To solve this problem, we wrote a quick little WordPress plugin that automatically tags each permalink page with the focus tags and generate the embed code at the end of each post. Now, we just need to add options to enable the blinkx it widget per post.