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Coming Soon - Yahoo! Desktop Search

Yahoo plans to stand out from the pack by cinching its portal assets--free e-mail, calendars, photos, music, instant chat and so on--with search. The company does not plan to place ads within its beta desktop search tool, but Yahoo Web searches from the tool will produce sponsored ads.

In a step to keep pace with chief rival Google, Yahoo plans to start testing a downloadable desktop search application in early January.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Web portal said Thursday that it will introduce free software in partnership with X1 Technologies that helps consumers search the contents of their hard drive, including e-mail, Word documents, PDF (Portable Document Format) files, music and photos. The Yahoo-branded application, available in early January, will let people search their PCs as well as the Web via Yahoo Search, but future iterations will include navigation for Yahoo's instant messenger archives, address book and free e-mail service.

"Now desktop search is really about people's hard drive," Jeff Weiner, Yahoo's vice president of search and marketplace, said in an interview. In the future it will be "more about searching your essential information no matter where it is."

Financial terms of the partnership between X1 and Yahoo were not disclosed. X1, based in Pasadena, Calif., was founded by Idealab CEO Bill Gross, who also created Yahoo commercial-search subsidiary Overture Services.

Yahoo! said the Windows-based tool, which lets users search through e-mail, e-mail attachments and files, will be released "in the coming weeks." The company says it plans to add more features to the tool in the future, allowing users to search across both Yahoo! and the Web. Specifically, the company said users will eventually be able to search through their personal Yahoo! search history, their Yahoo! Address Book, their Yahoo! Photos and their Yahoo! Groups.

The company didn't say whether the tool will be ad supported or whether it will simply be part of an effort to increase user loyalty and search volume on Yahoo! Search.

Read more here - Yahoo! Partners with X1 for Desktop Searchand CNet's Yahoo to test desktop search