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New features added to Yahoo! desktop search

You can now search instant messages from Yahoo! Messenger and contacts from your Yahoo! Address Book.

* Search your instant messages from Yahoo! Messenger
* Search your contacts from Yahoo! Address Book
* Search for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, text, HTML, ZIP and over 200 other file types.
* Search the Web using Yahoo! Search from the same interface.
* Selectively index only the content you choose - files, emails, IM's, contacts.
* View search results instantaneously - as fast as you can type

, in Sunnyvale, California, hasn't decided yet whether it will enable the tool to tap into data stored on competitors' servers, such as Web mail services other than its own, Horowitz says.

In order to have the tool index data from Yahoo's servers, users have to activate a feature which asks for their Yahoo ID and password, he says. The tool is still useful for those users who just want to index data stored on their PCs, he says. For example, Yahoo Messenger sessions are archived locally, and this new version of the tool can index that data.

The Yahoo Desktop Search tool is based on technology from X1 Technologies, which sells a desktop search product tailored for business users, a market Yahoo isn't pursuing, Horowitz says.

Other players in the crowded space include , Microsoft, America Online, Blinkx, Lycos, and Copernic Technologies.

In another development, Yahoo will provide 1Gig of storage for each free e-mail account. The current limit is 250M bytes. The expanded storage will be available in mid-April. The expanded e-mail storage enables Yahoo to catch up with online search engine leader Google, which offers an invitation-only service that has been offering 1G byte of storage for nearly a year.