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Engines for your eyes, ears

Tired of searching for mere words on the Net? At least two search engines will allow you to comb the Internet for sound, pictures, and other multimedia features--and more are expected to do the same.

Tired of searching for mere words on the Net? At least two search engines will allow you to comb the Internet for sound, pictures, and other multimedia features--and more are expected to do the same.

In the latest example, Lycos today introduced a service that allows users to search for sound and picture files as well as words.

HotBot has featured detailed multimedia search capabilities since it was launched in May, Paul Gauthier, Inktomi's vice president of research and development, said today. Inktomi provides the technology behind HotWired's HotBot, as well as running the service.

Multimedia search engines, of course, have the same difficulties as word-based search engines. Impatient users will sometimes have difficulty getting what they want immediately. It also may take some time to download the graphics.

HotBot allows users to specify searches. Surfers, for example, can choose the kind of picture files they want, get sound clips, or search the Web for Shockwave or Java.

Lycos said their technology will help experts and novices alike get the most from the Web.

"This technology helps fulfill the true potential of the World Wide Web," Lycos CEO Robert J. Davis said in a statement. "The Web is a multimedia environment, bringing us interactivity, sounds, and visuals together across the Internet. Now, Lycos helps you find those multimedia files more easily than ever before."