Hoping to attract more broadband customers to its service, AOL has launched an audio and video search feature that promises to simplify searches for multimedia content across the Web.
It has also acquired Singingfish, which provides the technology for the multimedia searches, AOL said. Singingfish says its search engine technology is already included in media players by companies such as Microsoft and RealNetworks. Peer-to-peer (P-to-P) file sharing programs like Kazaa and Morpheus also allow for audio and video searches, though the services are often accused of violating copyrights. Singingfish claims it only searches for content that is authorised for use.
Along with the audio and video search, AOL is also offering a preview version of a local area search technology called In Your Area, which includes local yellow-page listings and movie show times. The company did not say when the full version of the local area search would be made available, or detail the limitations of the preview version.
New navigation tabs for audio and video searches as well as the In Your Area searches have been included on the integrated AOL Search service.
AOL has been aggressive in its efforts to compete in the growing online search market. Last month, the company added new query options and navigation tools to its service and expanded its agreement with Google to include access to Google's index and sponsored links.
Laura Rohde writes for IDG News Service