New AltaVista software searches corporate PCs

AltaVista Co. today released its Desktop Search software, aimed at offering help to harried corporate users tired of wasting time combing through thousands of computer files and e-mails to find what they need.

AltaVista Desktop Search, which was originally announced last June, is a Windows-based application that's being licensed to large and midsize corporations. New AltaVista corporate clients can expect to pay from $25 to $30 per employee for the search product, but existing AltaVista business customers will be offered a "deep discounted price," a company representative said.

The software navigates more than 225 different file types by file name and folder to locate the information users are seeking. It also crawls through e-mails, searching by keyword, folder, date, subject or header fields such as "cc," "to" and "from," and is designed to complement Web browsers, according to AltaVista.

Broad search-and-retrieval results are presented to users in a single frame interface, and searches can be performed regardless of whether the user has applications associated with the files open.

The software is intended to save users time and increase productivity. Palo Alto, Calif.-based AltaVista said it hopes that it will be a step forward in offering PC users a "universal view" of relevant corporate information across multiple platforms and applications.

Just last month, Cambridge, Mass.-based search company Northern Light Technology LLC announced that it would cease offering free Web searches to the public so it could focus more on providing custom online searches for businesses (see story).

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