Internet search engine Google has unveiled free software that lets people search the Web quickly, without launching a Web browser.
Google Deskbar, released Thursday, appears as a search box in the Windows toolbar. After the search words are entered, a resizable mini-viewer pops up with the results. Users can jump to the site within the mini-viewer or launch their browser.
Unless a program is filling the screen or the user has set the taskbar to automatically hide, the search box is always visible. With a keyboard shortcut, the cursor can be moved to it without moving the mouse.
Though the software is free, Google does get some exposure on the desktop: The company's logo appears faintly in the search box when words aren't being typed into it.
Beyond Google's main search, the box can be set to search Google non-U.S. sites, Google News, Google Images and others. There are options to find stock quotes, movie reviews, word definitions and synonyms. Users can add custom sites to search, too.
The program was developed at Google Labs.