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Google, which I have mentioned before and I regard as the best search engine out there, has unveiled a new service. I’m sure you’re all familiar with search engines that lose sight of their primary mission and try to be everything to everyone. They typically morph into portals, offering news, weather, stock quotes, columns that nobody reads, and much much more. It’s an easy choice to make when AOL and MSN keep attracting new customers and that most elusive of Silicon Valley manna, profits.

Google has been a breath of fresh air because it has consistently pursued strategies that keep it faithful to searching. Google Images is a handy way to find graphics around the Web, Google Groups indexes a nearly complete archive of Usenet newsgroups, and Google Directory provides some categorization to its search results.

Its latest offering, Google Catalogs, is innovative and unique. Google has indexed over six hundred mail-order catalogs. Not only can you browse actual scans of catalog pages, you can also search individual catalogs or even all catalogs. That’s right, they’ve indexed all of the words in all of the catalogs. What’s more, a search of the catalog actually highlights the search term in the graphical picture of the page. I’m not entirely sure how they do this, but they do it and they do it extremely fast. Now you can broaden your horizons and look through catalogs you may not receive. Save your postman some extra burdens and enjoy this excellent resource from a great search engine.