AltaVista has launched a Search Toolbar that lets you query its web, news and multimedia search capabilities while visiting any page on the web.
AltaVista's toolbar does have a few of unique features that will appeal to some. This includes direct access to AltaVista's Babel Fish translation function, a "shortcuts lookup" and access to its large multimedia catalog.
The translation capability is probably the toolbar's most useful function. AltaVista's language translation feature translates words and Web pages into 10 languages, including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Swedish, Japanese, Korean, and Russian.
Multimedia search is also useful, allowing you to tap into AltaVista's large index of more than 550 million image, audio and video files.
The shortcuts lookup feature provides answers to specific questions, such as the local time in major cities, U.S. area and ZIP code lookups, currency exchange rates and weather for locations worldwide.
While not notably innovative, the launch of AltaVista's search toolbar is a clear signal that the company isn't just going to fade away now that it is part of the Overture/Yahoo empire.
Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan and I visited AltaVista last week, and were offered a glimpse of the company's planned products and strategies. While we're not able to write about anything we heard about just yet, we came away with the feeling that the company has been re-energized, and intends to fully leverage its own strengths with those of its sister companies AlltheWeb, Overture and Yahoo.
Requires Internet Explorer version 5.0 and above, running on Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, ME and XP. AltaVista's toolbar is available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish.
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