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Ask Jeeves Launches Desktop Search

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Ask Jeeves has launched a beta desktop search application, capping off a very busy year in the desktop search space.

Just a year ago, consumer oriented desktop search was only available from a few small companies like Enfish, dtSearch, and x1. This year, all of the major search engines have entered or will soon enter the desktop search fray.

Ask Jeeves' interest in desktop search became apparent when the company purchased desktop search technology company Tukaroo in June.

Jim Lanzone, Ask Jeeves Senior Vice President of Search Properties, told SearchDay, "It's a very good time to put Ask Jeeves Desktop Search in the hands of early adopters and get some feedback on it." Lanzone believes that desktop search is still one to two years away from being an application used by the mainstream searcher.

With the increased tempo of news and announcements during this week's Search Engine Strategies conference (live reports on sessions here and here), I only had time to pull together a basic overview of the new program. In early 2005 SearchDay will offer a "roundtable" with all three Search Engine Watch editors putting the programs through their paces and debating the pluses and minuses of each competitor. Stay tuned.

Key features of Ask Jeeves Desktop:

The program is a standalone application. The download runs about 750kb. Future releases will see more integration with the Ask Jeeves web site.

File formats searched include Microsoft Office files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel); basic text files, Microsoft Outlook (Outlook Express not available in this beta release); images, music in the MP3 format, and video files. This release only searches titles and metadata from Adobe PDF files.

Options make it easy to add or remove folders for indexing.

A search box is added to various Windows dialog boxes. This can be a time saver when trying to find files to include as email attachments.

Search results feature a preview panel that provide a glimpse of documents or images without having to open the application that created the file. Preview also allows you to hear a five second clip of MP3 audio files.

"Subtabs" allow you to do an online search of Ask Jeeves and access your MyJeeves personal search folders.

Like the newly released MSN Desktop, there are numerous command line options that increase the program's power search functionality.

For more information, see Susan Kuchinskas' Internet News article Ask Jeeves Enters Desktop Search Game. Also see the press release describing the launch of Ask Jeeves Desktop.

System Requirements Ask Jeeves Desktop Search works with Windows 2000 or XP, Office 2000 or higher, and Outlook 2000, XP and 2003. The program requires a minimum of a Pentium III computer running at 400MHz with 128 MB RAM (1 GHz and 256 MB RAM recommended).

Want to discuss or comment on this story? Join the Ask Jeeves Introduces Desktop Search Application discussion in the Search Engine Watch forums.

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