Yahoo Inc. has taken its first step to move desktop search beyond the data sitting on a users hard drive.
Late Tuesday, Yahoo updated its desktop search application with support for indexing and search across the Web-based Yahoo Address Book and archives of Yahoo Messenger instant messaging sessions.
When Yahoo first released a beta of Yahoo Desktop Search in January, it outlined plans to quickly tie in a range of its online services into the applications. Along with the online address book, Yahoo executives have said that content from Yahoos e-mail, photo-sharing and online groups services also will become searchable through desktop search.
"This is all just the beginning," wrote Warren Wan, product manager for Yahoo Desktop Search, in the companys Weblog. "Our goal is to make the word desktop in Yahoo Desktop Search refer simply to the place where you launch the product."
To activate indexing of Yahoo Messenger sessions, users must choose to archive chats in the instant messaging client, a Yahoo spokesperson said. Users are able to search the archived sessions whether they are online or off.
Once indexed, contacts from the Yahoo Address Book also will be available whether users are online or off, the spokesperson said.
Yahoo isnt alone in expanding the features and the types of supported data for desktop search. Earlier this month, Google Desktop Search moved out of beta and Google Inc. officials confirmed plans to offer an enterprise version of the application.
Meanwhile, specialized search software vendors Copernic Technologies Inc. and ISYS Search Software Inc. recently unveiled updates to their desktop search products.
Copernic late last month launched Version 1.5 of its free Copernic Desktop Search software. Among its new features, the release added support for indexing e-mail and attachments from the Mozilla Thunderbird and Eudora mail clients, and introduced a box inside the user interface that displays the number of matching results in different categories.
ISYS in early March began an external beta test of its next release, ISYS:desktop 7. Along with faster indexing and querying, the release categorizes results on the fly and supports the searching of Web history.
ISYS, which bills its tool as being focused on enterprise use, is expected to release the new version later this year.