Yahoo Plans Desktop Search

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Yahoo will release a desktop search tool in early 2005, joining other search engines looking to catalog a variety of information beyond Web pages, the company said Friday.


Instead of building its own tool, Yahoo licensed technology from Pasadena, CA, startup X1 Technologies. X1 lets users search their computers for word processing files, e-mails, photos and more than 220 other data types.


Yahoo plans to add customized features to the search tool to appeal to its 160 million registered users. Yahoo said it would release a test version of Yahoo Desktop Search "in the coming weeks."


Desktop search has emerged as a priority for search engines. Google released its own tool for searching computer hard drives in October. Ask Jeeves disclosed that its desktop search tool, built through its acquisition of Tuckaroo in June, is slated for release Dec. 15. Microsoft also expects to introduce desktop search before the end of the year.


A Yahoo representative said the beta version of Yahoo Desktop Search would not include paid listings. Google does not display ads for desktop searches, though it has integrated desktop search with Web search. Those results include paid listings.


Search industry experts say the desktop search functions are a necessary method for search engines to build user loyalty, since Web search has few barriers to switching to another engine.


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