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Ask Jeeves joins the Desktop Search race

Ask Jeeves Desktop Search

The battle is definitely on with announcing its plans to release a test version of its desktop search tool.

Daniel Reade, vice president of product management at Ask Jeeves, said many of the releases and announcements were an effort to keep up in the search arms race. Ask Jeeves announced its desktop plans in June, when it acquired desktop search firm Tuckaroo.

"To be a major search player going forward, you're going to need all the access points to search," he said. He thinks users eventually will access search engines through the Web, browser toolbars, desktop search applications and mobile devices.

Ask Jeeves positions its desktop search tool as more user friendly than offerings from competitors. It lets users control the speed of the indexing and which files are cataloged. The tool is integrated with common Windows dialogue boxes. For example, when opening a folder, an Ask Jeeves Desktop Search box appears for quick searching. The tool also can draw on My Jeeves, Ask Jeeves' personalization feature that lets users save and search Internet sites they have visited.

Ask Jeeves' application, called Ask Jeeves Desktop Search, is small at 750KB and will be shortly available for download here. PCWorld has some details about the tool here.

Ask Jeeves Desktop Search features a two-panel user interface that shows results on one side and previews on the other side. During this test period, often referred to in the industry as a beta period, Ask Jeeves will gather feedback from users to improve the product. A final version of the product is slated for next year, and it will feature more support for Outlook, an integration of PC and Web results, and support for Adobe PDF files.

Designed to let users find files and information stored in their PCs, Ask Jeeves Desktop Search indexes and retrieves a variety of files, such as Microsoft Office documents, Microsoft Outlook e-mail messages, multimedia files, and applications. The tool lets users narrow queries through a variety of parameters, such as searching only Microsoft Office documents or image files, and lets users sort the results in multiple ways. Users can also determine the parts of their hard drive they want indexed.

Lanzone said Ask Jeeves chose not to include IM sessions because of privacy concerns.

Leterme writes: The question that should start popping people's heads is, why are all these companies suddenly introducing these software utilities, and is there more to come? Is it possible we'll see Alexa, Ilse, Lycos or other competitors jump in as well?

Tech Notes: Ask Jeeves Desktop Search works with Windows 2000 or XP, Office 2000 or higher, and Outlook 2003. The program requires a minimum of a Pentium III computer running at 400MHz with 128 MB RAM (1 GHz and 256 MB RAM recommended). Sorry, not Mozilla or Mac compatibility.