Times Online reaches into desktop searchTimes Online yesterday introduced a branded search tool that allows readers to search video, audio, text and multimedia online and on their own desktop.

Smart Search is based on the Blinkx search tool with an added channel featuring bespoke Times Online headlines. Both full and lite versions can be downloaded for free.

Users can search multimedia file formats including MP3s, MPEGs and image files as well as Adobe files, Microsoft Office documents and attachments both online and locally.

"The branding of the product and the bespoke content is central to this tool," said Times Online product manager Dan Leonard.

"As a user, Blinkx allows you to do everything you can do with a tool like Google Desktop. As a publisher it gives you reach onto users desktops so you can make them aware of Times Online's content."

The idea is part of Times Online's strategy of introducing new products in beta form, in a similar way to Google's product launches.

The site invites users to comment on the new features so they can be improved before a full launch.

• Times Online now has 12 blogs written by its journalists. Charles Bremner, chief Times correspondent in France, started blogging on 11 November and Sam Lyster is covering everything shoe related on A Clean pair of heels.

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