Deep in my write-up on Yahoo's desktop search plans earlier today, I recapped the status of desktop search for the other players including AOL. An important point buried in there I should have broken out -- AOL's tool, bundled into its browser, is powered by the Copernic tool. So I'm fixing that now :)
More details are in my original story. The partnership should be a key one to soon-to-be-Mamma.com-owned Copernic, having a great product but until now lacking the distribution of the major search engines.
And a hat tip to reader John C, who alerted me to this back in November. He pointed me to a message board post mentioning that the technology was going to be used. I've just been so swamped that it took until today for me to finally download the AOL Browser and verify this for myself.
It's surprising it's not been mentioned before. It's a public beta that any AOL user can enter, as explained in my story. And any AOL user who clicked on the About menu for the desktop search feature would have gotten this big window:
So -- if it was a secret, it was poorly kept for ages. Very odd Copernic hasn't mentioned it before themselves.
Postscript: Michael Bazeley at SiliconBeat has a quote from Copernic CEO David Burns suggesting that due diligence around the Mamma.com-Copernic acquisition has prevented Copernic from talking about this.