HotBot's new Desktop Search utility not only searches the web, it indexes files and email on your computer, making them searchable as well.
The new browser plug-in has a similar look and feel to the Lycos Sidesearch feature introduced last year. To run a web search, simply enter your search terms and click the "search the web" button. HotBot web search results open up in a pane to the left side of your browser without changing the page you're viewing.
"Users love the ability to keep the results with them as they navigate," said Lincoln Jackson, senior director of search products for Terra Lycos. "Increasingly as screen resolutions go up, this is going to be the way that users want to navigate results."
HotBot's Desktop search has some interesting new features not found in other toolbars. Most notably, the application can index files on your computer, including Microsoft office documents, Outlook or Outlook Express email (including attachments), and Internet Explorer favorites and history.
You also have control over the indexing process, via a tab on the settings panel. Indexing controls include the time indexing should occur (on a regular schedule, at preset intervals, or manually), and the types of files you want to be indexed.
This makes it easy to search just about anything from a single search interface in your browser. The drop-down menu defaults to a web search, but provides options that let you select email, files, the web, the current site or page that you're viewing, your browser history or your selected RSS feeds (more on this below).
"Making people learn a new piece of software is a flawed strategy," said Tom Wilde, general manager of search services for Lycos. "The browser is where people want to live, and this new tool is designed to take advantage of the form factor of the browser with the split screen."
Another new feature is the addition of an RSS reader, which also uses the left pane of your browser. The neat thing about this feature is that the feeds are also indexed. Want to read that blog posting you saw a few months back, but can't remember where you found it? Search for it on your own desktop.
The HotBot Desktop also features a popup blocker, and the ability to set up custom sites that are then searchable from your toolbar. By checking the sites you wish to search and clicking the "Save" button, chosen sites will be available within the search button in the toolbar.
HotBot Desktop System Requirements
OS: Windows 98, ME, 2000 or XP.
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 and above.
Download the HotBot Desktop
Total size: 1.5 MB
3 minutes, 38 seconds on a 56K modem
8 seconds on DSL / cable modem
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