Yahoo! Desktop Search debuts
By Charlene Li
Yahoo! joined the desktop search fray last month by pre-announcing its partnership with X1 and today it finally made the beta available. Yahoo!’s major modification are to 1) make the product available for free, and 2) added the ability to search Yahoo! directly from the interface. The Yahoo! Search Blog has a fair summary of all the YDS advantages.
Two quick thoughts on where Yahoo! could take YDS:
1) Yahoo! talks about searching the “cloud” of information that resides on the Internet, and specifically, to Yahoo!, which is a natural as the enterprise version of X1 also searches across networks, so why not the Internet? But what if that cloud also includes all the hard drives of your trusted network of friends and family? Yahoo! could set up a Grouper-like service that combines social networking and file searching to help me find those birthday party photos on my brother’s hard drive. YDS and all of the other desktop search programs will quickly redefine what I consider my “desktop”.
2) While YDS is a big, heavy, robust program that will be well-suited for the power user, it’s not clear to me that most consumers want that kind of power, even if it is free. As I mentioned in my review of MSN’s desktop search product, there will be trade-offs made between power/robustness and ease of use/integration, with Google’s offering clearly lies at one of the spectrum and Yahoo! at the other. Yahoo!’s biggest challenge going forward will be to integrate YDS quickly into its services while also cutting back on the size of the download and also the resources it uses (I routinely found my system locked up as YDS started, and although it is fast, it wasn’t appreciably that much faster than more efficient and smaller Copernic).