Just An Online Minute... Desktop Search - The Next Frontier

It comes as no surprise that Yahoo! is entering the desktop search arena - desktop search is, after all, along with local search services, one of the next big growth opportunities for the search market. Yahoo! announced its plan to offer a desktop search tool late yesterday and says it will launch the free tool in January. Yahoo! says the tool is capable of sorting through more than 200 different types of data.

Yahoo!, Google, MSN, and others are working on tools that will search PC hard drives. Such tools are designed to sift through the mountain of e-mail, downloads, and documents that people have on their computers. The idea is that it will become as easy and quick to find that old business plan or budget as it is to search for a movie review on the Web.

Microsoft, via MSN, has said it will debut a desktop search engine by the end of the year. It had better hurry - we are just three weeks away from year-end. If the plan remains on track, my hunch is it will launch next week in beta form.

Yahoo!'s desktop search tool won't run within a browser, which means that desktop searches are separate from Web searches. The Minute thinks this sounds sensible. If I know the information resides within my PC, why would I want to go to the Web to search for it? I wouldn't.

How will Yahoo! and the others monetize desktop search?