Blinkx, finally serves its purpose

It was three years ago – June 17, 2004, I first met with Blinkx, a toddler of a start-up, showing off a tiny little downloadable software that added context to search – be it on your desktop or on the web. To say the least, I was suitably impressed.

It was at the forefront of the desktop search concept that soon gathered momentum leading up to products like Google Desktop and Microsoft Vista’s built-in search features. However, somewhere around this time, Blinkx lost its plot, and started expanding into other categories.

In other words, there wasn’t a hot market the company didn’t try to chase. First blogs, then audio, and then video search. Chasing the hot markets also prompted rumors that it was going to be bought out, with News Corp., as a likely suitor.

A spinout of Autonomy, a British company, Blinkx, which used proprietary technologies developed by Autonomy, never really gained traction in any specific market. Blinkx co-founder Suranga Chandratillake, a nice, thoughtful and intelligent fellow, told the story many times, but somehow Blinkx lost some of its sheen.

So today, when I read the news, that Autonomy was going to spin-in Blinkx and combine it with its mysterious consumer Internet business and take it public on AIM, all the pieces finally fell in place: Blinkx has finally found its purpose. To make Autonomy executives rich. Michael Lynch, the Autonomy CEO who owns 10% of Autonomy.

As Liz points out the company has neither the traffic nor traction to really justify a $150-to-500 million dollar IPO. Still it has two buzz words going for it – video and search. That should be enough for the gullibles.