Free all-in-one desktop search tool

In doing some research about desktop search for the chapter in our book about organizing your files and email, I came across HotBot Desktop, a tool so incredibly handy and powerful that it might make me be willing to switch back to Internet Explorer and give up Google as my favorite search engine. At least for now. 😉

HotBot Desktop allows you to:
– Search the web
– Search your local computer (files, email, RSS, and browser history)
– Subscribe to RSS news feeds
– Block Pop-ups
– Perform site searches from any site on the Internet

While Microsoft, Google, Apple, AskJeeves, and others have announced something like this for later this year or early next, HotBot delivers NOW.

So what does this have to do with social networking, you ask?

One way to enhance your reputation as being both knowledgeable and helpful is to become a resource for your network – a reliable source of valuable, credible information. In order to do this efficiently, you must build an archive of electronic documents that you have found useful and interesting. In spite of constant innovation in the field of web search, we are a long way from it being able to make the kind of quality and relevance assessments a human being can.

How many times have you been involved in a conversation, and based upon what the other person said, have thought, “I read a great article about that not long ago. I bet they would love to read it. Now, if I can just find it.” This is where organizing your documents can help you strengthen your relationships.

As everyone who has ever misplaced their keys is well aware, the more different places you have to look for something, the longer it typically takes to find it. The typical computer user has useful documents filed in several places:

• Email attachments – While portals and other web-based tools are becoming increasingly popular, this is the most common means by which individuals exchange documents.
• Contact notes – Those who use contact management software a great deal will have extensive notes from their phone calls and meetings.
• Browser bookmarks – Most users’ bookmarks consist of a mix of frequently-visited content sites, web-based applications, and documents of interest for future reference.
• Local file folders – This is usually primarily self-created documents, and some occasional files saved from email attachments or the internet.

Knowledge workers, the several hundred million people worldwide who work with information all day, spend as much as 35% of their time searching for information, and are successful in finding what they seek 50% of the time or less . By getting your electronic files well-organized and setting up the tools to search them quickly and effectively, you will not only become a better resource to your network, you will dramatically increase your overall productivity.