Yahoo recently said its Yahoo Desktop search is out of beta. This not-so-surprising debut further highlights the practice of search engines to constantly one-up each other.
One of the most significant offerings of the new search tool is that it will allow users to conduct contextual Web searches via its Live Words product. Users will actually be able to search the Web using a word or topic from their desktop files or documents. So instead of having to navigate from the desktop portal to the Yahoo search engine to search for a topic in an offline document, users now have the ability to, as Yahoo senior product manager Albert Lee put it, “search without leaving the page you’re on.”
Other features of the new tool: If prompted, Yahoo Desktop Search hides users’ Internet Explorer Web browsing history and cache, allows users to input defaults so the system automatically knows what should be indexed and what should not, and allows users to index based on file size. It also will include a battery saver and will run on Windows XP or 2000 SP 3+ and will support Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird e-mails.
The implications of Yahoo search far outweigh the features, though. Yahoo’s debut of the new product followed by its debut of Site Explorer and its involvement in the Open Content Alliance, which would make content currently available in print and other media more accessible in a digital archive, signifies Yahoo’s refusal to surrender the search world to Google dominance.
Both Yahoo and Google are aware that online profits will continue to rise exponentially and that the provider offering the best solutions from desktop search to the largest index is the one that will reap the benefits.