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October 1996 Reviews TOC

10/96 Reviews SW: CyberSearch

Offline Browser Is Frugal but Frustrating

By James E. Powell

When you're paying for Internet time by the minute or the hour, even fast search engines like AltaVista seem to take forever. That's where an offline browser such as CyberSearch comes in handy.

CyberSearch uses the Lycos database to find keyword-connected sites offline, offering an abstract of each site that meets the criteria of your search. Clicking on a title automatically launches your browser to view the page. It supports Netscape, Internet Explorer, NCSA Mosaic and GNNWorks. You also can elect to view multiple pages simultaneously if your browser supports that feature, so your search can continue while slow-loading pages arrive in the background.

CyberSearch's CD offers more than 500,000 predefined URLs and a surprisingly fast search engine to locate them. You can select the maximum number of hits to display and how many words must be present in the document before it constitutes a hit.

The program supports relevancy scores, which can be adjusted to concentrate only on the best sites for your search parameters. I wasn't very successful here, however. My search for sites with content strongly related to WINDOWS Magazine continued to bring up irrelevant sites no matter which setting combinations I tried.

Site Organizer, the program's best feature, comes with dozens of predefined tabs that organize sites into 30 categories such as art, government, education and computing. The company adds regular updates to its Web site ( that can be imported into CyberSearch. You can also add your own by dragging and dropping the site name from the Search Results window, clicking on the Save Search Results to Organizer button and then manually typing a URL or importing bookmark files.

The company offers monthly, quarterly and yearly CD-ROM updates for roughly $10 to $12 per update. Despite this, CyberSearch can't quite keep up with the ever-changing Web. I found myself clicking on dozens of sites only to discover they were no longer available at those addresses, often with no hint of where I might find them or whether they still existed.

If time is money, offline browsing is a great pennysaver. But CyberSearch's database needs to be updated constantly to make this product work well.

Info File
Pros: Fast search; Site Organizer
Cons: Dated site listings
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x, NT
Disk Space: 4MB
Frontier Technologies Corp.
800-929-3054, 414-241-4555
WinMag Box Score: 2.5

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