Yahoo has launched software to allow people to search
e-mail and other files on their PCs.
The firm is following
in the footsteps of Microsoft, Google and Ask Jeeves,
which have offered similar services.
Search has become
a lucrative and hotly-contested area of expansion for
net firms, looking to extend loyalty beyond the web. With
hard drives providing bigger storage, users could need
more help to locate important files, such as photos.
search technology has been licensed from a US-based firm
X1 Technologies. It is designed to work alongside Microsoft's
Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail programs.
e-mail effectively is becoming increasingly important,
especially as the amount of spam increases.
to research from message analysts the Radicati Group,
up to 45% of businesses' critical information is stored
in e-mail and attachments.
can also work separately on the desktop, searching for
music, photos and other files.
Users can search
under a variety of criteria, including file name, size,
date and time.
doesn't yet incorporate web searching, although Yahoo
has promised that future versions will allow users to
search both web-based and desktop data.
are all getting more and more files on our desktop but
the real commercial opportunity lies with linking this
through to web content," said Julian Smith, an analyst
with research firm Jupiter.
is all about extending the idea of search and getting
a closer relationship with consumers by organising not
just how they search on the internet but the files on
your computer as well," he said.
Search engines are often the first port of call
for users when they go onto the web.
The new foray into
desktop search has rung alarm bells for human rights
groups, concerned about the implications to privacy.
And not everyone
is impressed with the functionality of such services.
vice president of emerging technologies at analyst firm
Gartner,downloaded the Google product but has since
"It was just
not very interesting," he said.
He believes the
rush to enter the desktop business is just a way of
keeping up with rivals.
search is just one of many features people would like
but I'm suspicious of its usefulness," he said.
More useful would
be tools that can combine internet, intranet and desktop
search alongside improvements to key word searching,
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