The HotBot Desktop, a free download available now, includes the typical search toolbar features such as a search query box and pop-up ad blocker. But unlike most others, it also can index and search across files on users hard drives, said Lincoln Jackson, senior director of search products for Terra Lycos in Waltham, Mass.
The local-content search feature supports e-mail files from Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, Microsoft Office files, PDFs and most text-based file formats. The toolbar also lets users index their Web-page browsing history so they can search content from those sites.
"We wanted something different from all the other toolbars out on the Internet," Jackson said. "We felt that search on a local computer was lacking. To present users what in essence is Web results of their local computer will be valuable to users and help them find stuff on their desktops."
Search engines and providers are offering downloads to make search a more dominant part of the desktop and Web browser. HotBot already offered a download that let users conduct Web searches directly from the Windows desk bar. HotBot draws its Web search results from multiple search engines, including Google Inc., Yahoo Inc.s Inktomi engine and Ask Jeeves Inc.s Teoma engine, Jackson said.
The HotBot Desktop also embraces the Really Simple Syndication format for content syndication. The toolbar includes an RSS newsreader, where users can aggregate feeds from multiple Web sites and blogs as well as search their content.
The HotBot Desktop does not include the ability to search for RSS feeds on the Web, rather it includes a list of hundreds of popular ones from which to choose and lets users type in the URL of an RSS feed. In later versions of the toolbar, Terra Lycos plans to support the rival Atom format and offer the ability to find XML syndication feeds, Jackson said.
HotBot Desktop is available for Microsoft Windows 98, 2000 and XP with Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher, Jackson said.
In other search news, GuruNet Corp. on Monday also added a toolbar version of its search tool that culls reference materials on the Web. GuruNet, which has been offered as a desktop application for Windows, is now available through an Internet Explorer toolbar as well as on the companys Web site.
GuruNet of Wesley Hills, N.Y., said it plans to release in the second quarter of this year a version of its reference software for the Mac OS X. GuruNet is available for a 14-day trial, then for an annual subscription of $29.99.
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