Lycos is rolling out a new utility that automatically displays Lycos search results in a side panel next to search results from Google, Yahoo or most of the other major services.
Sidesearch is a browser plug in for Internet explorer that runs whenever you enter a query into a major search engine. Lycos results are displayed in a panel on the left side of the browser window, allowing you to view both sets of results in tandem.
"The basic appeal is a second opinion for a search site," said Tom Wilde, general manager of search services for Lycos.
Sidesearch works much like the fast forward feature that Lycos introduced in February of 2002. Clicking a Sidesearch result in the left pane opens the underlying page in the right pane of the browser window, allowing you to quickly view pages without using the browser's "back" button.
"The nice thing about the side panel is that you can preview the results without losing your search results," said Wilde.
By default, the utility operates in "passive" mode, where Lycos Sidesearch results automatically appear alongside Google, AltaVista or other search results. Changing search terms in the initial search engine also refreshes Lycos search results.
If you don't want Lycos results, simply close the Sidesearch panel, and it will stay closed for the rest of your session with a particular search service. Navigate to another search engine, and Sidesearch results will automatically activate once again.
"We're really trying to balance a good user experience here with a second opinion metaphor," said Wilde.
Sidesearch works with "the top ten or so" of the major search engines, according to Wilde. It's not possible to configure the utility to work with some engines and not others, or to add your own favorite search engines.
It also works with selected shopping sites. Rather than presenting Lycos web search results, Sidesearch results accompanying shopping search results are drawn from Lycos' Bizrate catalog.
Wilde says that the program is unobtrusive, not observing your search behavior. "It doesn't do anything spooky like trapping user behavior or showing pop-up ads based on your search terms," he said. The program is also easy to uninstall.
Wilde says that Lycos plans to enhance the Sidesearch utility with additional content in the future, perhaps from Lycos' dating or finance catalogs. Sidesearch will also be rolled out in Spain and Latin America later this year.
Sidesearch requires Windows 98 or higher, with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 and above with scripting enabled. No Mac or Linux version available.
Download Lycos Sidesearch
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