GuruNet, whose first commercial version was released last week, is a utility that lets you find out more about any word that appears anywhere on your Windows desktop, whether as a Web browser or a Word document, but also in less obvious places such as the desktop or a menu.
GuruNet installs itself in the system tray and to perform a search a word is plugged into the engine by pointing the mouse over the word, pressing the Alt key, and clicking the mouse.
GuruNet also delivers extremely comprehensive responses. Unlike search engines, which return only links to relevant Web sites, GuruNet also returns dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia definitions, biographies, weather forecasts, stock quotes, press releases, and book searches, to name a few.
The utility is also smart enough to send back appropriate responses: by Alt-clicking on San Francisco, it won’t try and retrieve stock quotes, and by Alt-clicking on Microsoft, it won’t try and pull up a weather forecast.
GuruNet’s latest trick is translation between English and nine other languages (French, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, and Greek). The translation preferences are used to determine which languages Gurunet will transfer to. There’s one glitch: GuruNet can’t translate other languages to English.
Unfortunately users cannot Alt-click on more than one word at a time, for example by selecting the text. To perform a search on two or more words, they must be entered manually in the GuruNet window.
GuruNet (introduced in beta form last fall) gets frequent updates. The company recommends that users download updates regularly. GuruNet can be found at http://www.gurunet.com/.
Prices listed are in US currency.