Yahoo Desktop Search Out of Beta

Yahoo has released its Desktop Search to the public. The product, which was released in beta in January, now includes LiveWords contextual search.

LiveWords lets users initiate a Web search from within a file or document on the desktop. Highlighting a word and then clicking the new LiveWords button delivers what Yahoo calls a “search snack.” The search snack is a small sampling of Web search results.

Yahoo originally built the LiveWords feature into Yahoo Messenger instant messaging.

Yahoo now claims to search over 300 different file types, up from 200 when the beta was launched. Searchable file types include attachments, documents, music, images, video, the Yahoo Address Book and Yahoo Messenger archives.

Yahoo Desktop Search integrates with Microsoft Outlook, placing a small query box within that application. Searchers can click buttons to limit the search to specific types of files, including Outlook attachments.

Yahoo’s general release of its desktop search tool comes at a time when MSN search is rising in importance. Earlier in September, MSN released application programming interfaces to let outside developers MSN Search, Messenger and Virtual Earth create applications that take advantage of those applications’ functionality and underlying data.

Microsoft also has reorganized the company, elevating MSN to a greater role within the new Platform Products & Services division.

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