Installing HotBot Desktop is easy: launch the 1.5MB setup file, and you're up and running in a couple of minutes. The HotBot Desktop toolbar is a marvel of space-saving efficiency, with easily identifiable buttons that provide fast access to popular tools including HotBot's search menu, newsreader, and pop-up blocker. A single search window allows both Web and local searches. How does HotBot Desktop know where to search? A drop-down menu to the right of the search window lists several options, including Search the Web, Search E-mail, Search Files, and so on.
The RSS reader frees you from having to install a standalone newsreader, such as the Editors' Choice-winning Pluck. However, it could use a tutorial to help you find and configure RSS feeds that aren't preselected for you.
So why isn't it an Editors' Choice? The beta version we tested had some odd quirks, including an indexer that wouldn't run on demand (but would if we scheduled it to) and a search engine that couldn't seem to find files that had already been indexed. HotBot Desktop's anorexic help section didn't offer much troubleshooting advice to steer us in the right direction. We expect Lycos to correct these glitches, after which HotBot Desktop might prove to be an excellent search tool.