Yahoo plug-in gives brains to browser search

Inquisitor suggests results for Web browsers' search box and presents them with a splashy interface. It was just for Safari, but it now works on Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Yahoo's Inquisitor adds new abilities to the search box of Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.
Yahoo's Inquisitor adds new abilities to the search box of Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. CNET News

Yahoo has released a plug-in called Inquisitor that gives some new horsepower to the search box in Internet Explorer (download), Firefox (download), and Safari (download).

Inquisitor is designed to help people get to information faster, according to a Yahoo Search Blog posting Wednesday. It suggests search terms as people start typing, showing an updated list of possible Web sites below the search box. The results are individualized too: it spotlights Web pages a person has already visited and customizes search results according to previous searches.

In addition, on Internet Explorer, Inquisitor can help retrieve sites a person has bookmarked.

Inquisitor got its start on Apple's Safari, but Yahoo brought it to the top two browsers after acquiring Inquisitor in May .

After the acquisition, Yahoo rebuilt Inquisitor to use its own BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service) technology, the company said.

Inquisitor is an example of the increasing intelligence that Internet companies are trying to build into computers. The search engines from Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google all suggest search queries as users start typing them in, for example. And in the browser, Firefox 3 offers an "awesome bar" that suggests Web sites that a person has bookmarked or already visited, while Google's new Chrome uses its bar to perform online searches directly.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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