A new, more widely accessible version, of online music-recommendation technology the Filter is scheduled for release in the United Kingdom towards the end of January.

U.K.-based software's developer Exabre, which has an affiliate relationship wth Apple's iTunes Music store, brought out the first version of the Filter for the Windows XP version of iTunes in October 2006. That was followed in December by an edition designed for the Apple Mac edition of iTunes.

Now, on a still unspecified date in January, Exabre says it will launch a version of the Filter that is compatible with any digital music store which uses Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media Player or the Winamp MP3 jukebox.

The original technology was devised for OD2, the U.K.-based digital-music store service provider which was co-founded by rock/world music artist Peter Gabriel in 1999 and which was sold to Finnish mobile-phone giant Nokia in October 2006.

The original Exabre/OD2 digital-retail system features an intuitive artificial intelligence used on digital stores powered by OD2. It helps OD2 clients' customers discover new music by studying their tastes and recommending tracks.

The Filter launched in October 2006 is a consumer desktop-application version of that system. Downloadable for free, it sorts through users' personal collection of iTunes songs on their PCs to help them select which songs to transfer to their iPod portable players.

The version coming out in January offers the same application for any digital MP3 player compatible with the Windows Media and Winamp.

"The Filter works with music you already own rather than a playlist of genres offered by the retailer," explains Gary McKee, the Filter's marketing manager at Exabre. "Someone with 15,000 tracks on a PC would find it difficult to know what to pick for the iPod. You can even choose just a couple of tracks, and it will generate a [longer] playlist based on your own personal collection."

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