Update Note: Since this
article was written GuruNet.com has changed its name to
Answers.com ( http://www.Answers.com).
The Answers.com link is also conveniently located on our SCPCUG
Search Engines page (http://www.scpcug.com/findlink.html)
under the "Special" category.
Are you looking for something to boost your ego? Something
to make you smarter? Maybe it's time for a dose of GuruNet! You
don't have to be a Guru to use GuruNet but it will make you feel
like one. GuruNet is a little 756 KB utility that makes you an
"Instant Expert". It should prove especially valuable
to users of cable modems with their "always on" connection,
i.e. users of RoadRunner (http://www.twcentralflorida.com/services/road_runner/).
GuruNet is available at (you guessed it!), http://www.gurunet.com.
The reason I say cable modem users will find this program more
valuable is that its one limiting factor is you have to be connected
to the Internet to use it.
Let's get some of the installation requirements out of the
way before we actually get into what this program is all about.
I think most Internet users can easily meet these requirements.
GuruNet works on Windows 95, 98, NT, and 2000. However, if you
are using Win95, you must have Microsoft Internet Explorer 4
(IE4) or above installed. You don't need to actually use IE4.
The installed program only takes up 1.5 MB of hard drive space.
In a way, by telling you about GuruNet, I might be doing the
SCPCUG website a disservice. After you have tried GuruNet you
might have less of a reason to go to our SCPCUG Search Engines
So is GuruNet a Search Engine? Well sort of. It uses Search Engines
but it is much more. The thing that really makes it unique is
its implementation. The user just points to any word or term
in a Windows application. GuruNet goes to work analyzing the
pointed-to text in context and pops-up a small window with an
explanation. You don't even have to leave the document you are
working on. So what is GuruNet's "mission"? (The US
Air Force, from which I am retired, liked to use the word "mission".
Everybody and every organization had a "mission".)
The Jerusalem-based company (with the same name) behind GuruNet
states its mission is "to empower Web users with a Net-based
browserless service that delivers instant information and e-commerce
power in a simple one-click pop-up window within any Windows
application". They are trying to "make the Web experience
and information access easier, more consolidated, productive
GuruNet runs in the background while you are on the Internet.
It works with all browsers and really all Windows programs (including
MS-Office, e-mail, and Personal Information Managers). You don't
need your browser up and running ahead of time to use it. You
can be working in a Windows program other than your browser.
For example, I could be typing this article in WordPad with my
Netscape Communicator Browser closed. Say I type the word "movable"
but I'm not sure if it's spelled "moveable" or "movable".
Now I could open my browser, go to our SCPCUG Search Engines
page, find the dictionary link and look it up, but GuruNet is
a lot faster. I just place my cursor over the word (don't even
have to highlight the word), press the "Alt" key while
left-clicking the mouse and in less than 5 seconds (with even
a 28.8K connection) up pops a little window with the proper spelling
and definition. I did not even have to open my browser.
Such is the power of GuruNet. If I need a synonym I just click
on "Thesaurus" on the left side of the GuruNet window
and the window instantly displays the information. This program
is very fast. No long waits for page loading. Now I don't do
anything in the way of translation but the capability is there.
Click "Translation" in the GuruNet menu and the word
is instantly translated to German, Spanish, French, or Italian.
More translations are on the way.
If the word happens to be something you want to search the
Internet for, that capability is right there waiting for you.
Just click on "Search" in the GuruNet menu. You can
choose to do a search with a random Search Engine or choose from
among twelve big name search engines including AltaVista, Excite,
Google, HotBot, Snap.com, and Yahoo. Clicking the "Search"
button will bring up your default browser and take you to the
requested search engine's search results page. Here you will
have to wait for your browser to load and the resulting HTML
page to load.
If you think there might be some books written about the word
you selected, you can just click on "Books" in the
GuruNet menu and similar to the "Search" you are given
the option of "random choice" or selecting from amazon.com,
Barnes and Noble, Borders.com, or fatbrain.com. Okay so maybe
you are not literate and never heard of fatbrain.com. Fatbrain.com
(http://fatbrain.com) is (according
to them) "the Internet's most comprehensive bookstore for
professionals". Perhaps you may know them by their former
name, ComputerLiteracy.com. Fatbrain.com claims to offer "a
world-class selection of books, training materials and print-on-demand
documentation for business, finance, math, science and technology
experts". Guess that means you will not find any romance
Enough of that "high muckamuck" stuff. (Look that
up in GuruNet.) A feature I really like is being able to type
a stock symbol into the GuruNet window (or you could do the "Alt
key plus left click" routine from within some document)
and info about the company is immediately displayed in the GuruNet
window. The GuruNet menu also changes to give you the following
options: Company, News, Stock Price, Stock Chart, Financial links,
Internet Keywords, Search, and Books.
The "News" option gives you a series of recent news
links about the stock. Clicking on any of the links brings up
your default browser and takes you to the location of the article.
The "Stock Price" option instantly brings up (within
the GuruNet window) the Last Price (delayed), Change, Percent
Change, Volume, Open, Previous Close, Bid & Ask Prices and
Sizes, and Highs & Lows for both the Day and Year. If that's
not enough the "Stock Chart" option will give you within
the small GuruNet window a yearly chart.
To pursue your stock inquiry further just click on the chart.
Your browser comes up and you are transported to Stockpoint.com
where you have the same chart with much more information and
charting options for doing an analysis. Such is the power of
the Internet! To think only 30 years ago I was personally plotting
my own stock charts by hand with graph paper. What a great technological
age we live in!
The "Financial Links" option in the GuruNet menu
gives you additional links for your browser dealing with things
like Analyst Estimates, Options, Insider Trading, SEC Filings,
Fundamentals, etc. I think any investor will be pleased with
the amount of information available through GuruNet for stocks.
I did find GuruNet lacking with respect to mutual funds. Typing
in a mutual fund symbol returned a "not found". There
is a way around this however. Type in a stock symbol first, click
on the "Stock Chart" option, and then click on the
small chart within the GuruNet window. Once your browser has
transported you to Stockpoint.com you can type the mutual fund
symbol in the search windows on Stockpoint's site to get fund
information or charts.
GuruNet recognizes "Internet Keywords". Now I'm
not big on conversational acronyms used in chat rooms and newsgroup
messages. Actually I prefer voice chat to text chat so I have
never been one to sit around madly typing away into little text
chat windows. That attitude has lead me to be sadly deficient
in knowledge of conversational acronyms. Thus, I was somewhat
at a loss when reading an article about modems when the statement
was made "This is not a winmodem AFAIK". GuruNet to
the rescue. GuruNet told me AFAIK was an Internet Keyword meaning
"As Far As I Know". Who says you don't learn something
I have just touched on some of the things GuruNet does but
there are more which you will have to explore for yourself. GuruNet
has biographies on US Congressmen and Sports Names, Weather Information
for US cities and International cities, and US Area Code lookup.
As sources for information it uses among others the American
Heritage Dictionary, Rogets Thesaurus, and the Columbia
Reference Encyclopedia. Technical terms use definitions from
Whatis.com. Sports data is gathered from STATS, and news, stocks
and company profile information from NewsAlert.
Finally, here are a couple of follow-ups to two previous Web
Master Wanderings articles.
In the last paragraph of my March 2000 article (http://www.scpcug.com/wmwand14.html)
I gave you a couple of links for 4300 FM and 797 AM United States
Radio Stations on the Internet. I have since found a better and
more versatile list which includes search capability and has
much more information. Check out the MIT List of Radio Stations
on the Internet at http://wmbr.mit.edu/stations/list.html.
It has links to over 9000 Radio Stations around the world.
My April 2000 article (http://www.scpcug.com/wmwand15.html)
discussed the FreeSpeech Browser voice recognition program
I have always found the more information you can gather about
a program, the better equipped you will be for making a decision
on that program's value to you i.e. worthy of installation because
you will "really" use the program. Hence, I offer another
review. I found a ZDNet review of FreeSpeech Browser at
While there you might also want to check out the ZDNet Voice
Recognition Guide at http://www.zdnet.com/products/filter/guide/0,7267,6000743,00.html.
Note: Web Master Wanderings
articles contain links to external web sites. Web addresses are
constantly changing. There is no guarantee that the information
links provided in this article will remain unbroken or up-to-date
beyond the date that this article is originally published.