There is no shortage of desktop search tools to choose from with Yahoo’s recent entrant into this hot but crowded field. Yahoo Desktop Search (YDS) joins the tools from Google and MSN who also produce free programs that do basically the same thing but with slightly different interfaces. Yahoo is the most recent company to produce a free desktop search and since I’ve tried or used all the rest I decided to give this one a whirl. My mainstream search tool has been the free Copernic Desktop Search for a good while and I really like it so for one of the other programs to replace it in my arsenal it will have to be good. Neither Google nor MSN Desktop Search could knock Copernic off the top of the hill so I didn’t have high hopes for YDS.
YDS uses a web-based installer instead of a standard Windows installer that prevents you from downloading the setup file to your PC for installation later. It doesn’t make a big difference but it is a deviation from the norm. Once installed YDS begins indexing your files and information which is a pretty fast process. Yahoo uses the X1 engine for the search tool which is an excellent but expensive search engine so I was expecting YDS to be fast and couldn’t wait to give it a try.
YDS installs a search bar in Outlook if you have it on your system which gives you a convenient toolbar for entering searches quickly. Like the other search tools YDS lets you search for files, contacts, emails, email attachements, images, music and my favorite option which Copenic doesn’t have, all of the above. What sets YDS apart from the competition is the ability to enter multiple search terms to narrow your search. These terms can be a part of the name, file type, date, size or path of whatever item you are looking for. For example you can enter part of the name and then the file type if you know you are looking for a PowerPoint presentation. Simple and effective. YDS begins narrowing the returned results with each letter you enter in the search bar so it works well even if you don’t know the complete name of the item.
Yahoo Desktop Search is FAST! It is easily the fastest of all the search tools I have tried which shows its X1 roots, another fast utility. Once the item you are trying to find is selected in the YDS window a quick preview is displayed for most file types so you can see if you got what you expected. This is especially cool for images and music. The preview window becomes a mini media player when a music file is selected so you can even play it to make sure it’s the one you were looking for. This is a very nice touch.
Yahoo has a real winner with YDS and it is clear they made a good decision to hook up with the X1 folks to use their search engine. So how did Yahoo Desktop Search fare in the jkOnTheRun test? Let’s just say I uninstalled my long-time favorite Copernic and YDS has assumed the place in my toolbox Copernic formerly occupied.