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January 11, 2005

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).


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Amit Agarwal

Why would I need X1 now when YDS gives all the best features for free ?

See my first impression of YDS here

The Indian Blogger

Josh Felser

In order to enable YDS users to download the files produced by virtual desktop search, Yahoo would have to engage in the non-trivial task of building an encrypted private P2P network. I do agree with your suggestion that desktop search should extend beyond a single desktop to a network that includes my remote PCs and my friends' PCs.

Karan Bavandi

I think Yahoo should get a que from Google. Yahoo is now competing with the likes of copernic and enfish who have been in the business of standalone search applications.

I think Yahoo should have emulated Google with an HTML based search utility that complements their portal. Plus it would have worked with Optimal Desktop the same way Google does! I do not see their startegy!

Michael J.

Is there some why that you can set up your blog so that I don't keep getting all your posts over and over? Twice today I got eight "new" posts. It's not worth subscribing if I'm just going to see the same material over and over.

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