Search engines are big business. Here are some of the latest developments from the leaders to make your search life a little easier.
Google Desktop 4 incorporates online and offline search, customizable local information, new Google Gadgets mini-applications and more into a stand-alone desktop bar. Some new search services are also in development. Google Co-op lets individuals and businesses lend their expertise on certain topics to generate improved search results by labeling web pages or build-ing specialized links for subscribers. Co-op is free and in beta testing mode.
Yahoo! Video has been rebuilt with emphasis on search functions and category listings that help users sort through online video. Yahoo! Answers, where users ask and answer each other's questions on just about any topic, has been a big hit. Yahoo! is now incorporating those results into its web searches, bringing a human touch to the search world.
Microsoft Research is working on a project called SenseWeb that would add real-time data to local searches. It could use sensors to collect information on everything from weather conditions to parking space data. Look for a test offering of this technology to become more widely available soon.