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Online Search and Reference Services

Copernic Desktop Search adds a search field to the Windows taskbar.
Copernic Desktop Search adds a search field to the Windows taskbar.

Google Desktop Harness the power of the Internet's most popular search engine on your own PC. Google Desktop indexes nearly every document on your hard drive and then includes those files in your Google searches. A sidebar displays information modules that you select, such as current news, updated items from recently visited sites, and local weather.

MSN Search Toolbar With Windows Desktop Search This search tool indexes your hard drive and then delivers search results through a Windows application rather than relying on a Web browser. Also, it searches the Web via MSN Search, and can index your Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail.

Copernic Desktop Search Like Google Desktop and the MSN Search Toolbar, Copernic lets you search local files as well as Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail. But it gives you more control over your searches--for instance, letting you specify messages from a certain sender.

Free Download Manager If you're continually downloading files, this Internet Explorer companion can help. It speeds up single-file downloads, resumes interrupted downloads, manages your bandwidth usage, and schedules multiple file downloads for specific times. You can even use it to grab every page from a Web site.

FlashGot For Firefox users, this browser plug-in simplifies downloading, allowing you to download multiple files efficiently. It requires a download manager, and integrates that program's features into right-click menus in Firefox.

Project Gutenberg Like to read? Project Gutenberg has been creating electronic versions of the classics for three decades, and its library currently contains the full text of more than 17,000 volumes. Read them online, or get your own free CD or DVD containing thousands of titles.

Wikipedia Anyone can contribute to this online encyclopedia, so take its articles with a grain of salt. But Wikipedia is a clearinghouse for general info on almost anything. And you can access it from a PDA via Wapedia.

Bartleby Like a reference library, Bartleby is home to several sources, including a dictionary, an encyclopedia, and various books of quotations. It offers audio pronunciations of words, a feature you have to pay for at other dictionary sites.

WordWeb This handy utility provides a dictionary and a thesaurus that work in any application on your computer. Simply highlight a word and press Ctrl-Alt-W (or click the taskbar icon) to get a definition, synonyms, and other information.

podAmigo podAmigo works with Podomatic, a Web service that helps you organize and download podcasts from all over the Web. You tell it what podcasts you want, and it creates daily "radio shows" for you--optionally mixing them with selections from your own music library.

Hyperwords This Firefox browser plug-in renders any text--on any Web page--clickable. Highlight a word or phrase, and a pop-up menu lets you submit the highlighted text to search engines, reference sites, online merchants, and more.

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