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  Net Worth

Posted 2/10/2005
By Colby Horton

Shop Site of the Month

G&M Body and Paint Shop - Mansfield, Ohio

shop site

One of this site's innovative features is an online repair status mechanism. Customers can log on to the Web site and view the status of their vehicle during the repair process. Prospective customers can request an estimate through the shop's site, while visitors can become educated about the complex repair process through an effective illustrated view of the procedure. Before and after photos, a list of frequently asked questions and useful tips on every page make this site informative.

Web Wise

Search Your Computer Like the Internet

Using search engine technology to find sites on the World Wide Web has become second nature to even the occasional Internet user. Now, the same technology that helps you find information on the Internet can help you find information on your computer. Many of the major search engine companies have recently released, or will soon release, desktop searches. The goal of these free products is to help you, the consumer, find information on your computer quickly and easily.

The free programs, which are usually only a few megabytes in size, are easily downloaded from the search engines' sites. Once installed, the software begins indexing your computer's files. This task can take some time, especially if you have a lot of information on your computer. The indexing process only occurs while your computer is left idle. Once indexed, you simply click on an icon on your desktop, or use a feature incorporated into your Web browser toolbar, to use the functionality.

Last fall, Google released the Google Desktop Search that allows people to scan their computers for information the same way they use Google to search the Web. This was the first type of desktop search product offered by the major search engines. The application allows you to search your e-mail, Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point files, AOL Instant Messenger chats, Web pages viewed online and plain text files.

Google's desktop search also features a caching function. Very similar to the Google page cache feature, it lets you see a copy of the file as Google has indexed it. Basically, each time you view a document or Web page, the Google desktop search takes a snapshot of what you've just seen. If you've ever made a change to a file and wish you hadn't, visiting your cached copy of the file can help you get back what you've changed.

Some desktop searches, like the one provided by MSN, allow you to create different indexes for separate user accounts. So if you share a computer with your children, or have a universal shop computer, you can keep others away from files you would like to remain private.

Be sure to check the "Hot Sites" section for a list of search engines currently offering the desktop search capabilities.

Net Numbers

More than 8 billion Web pages are indexed in Google's search engine.

Source: Google (January 2005)

ASA Web Ways

Shop Management Discussion Forum

To help shop owners in their quest to find the right software for their needs, ASA has created a discussion forum in the Members Only area of the ASA Web site ( The online forum is divided by mechanical and collision and enables ASA members to post questions and get answers about shopping for the right shop management software. To access the forums, enter your six-digit ASA member number in the appropriate field on the right side of ASA's home page. Once in Members Only, click on "Community Forums" in the left column and follow the instructions.

Hot Sites

Desktop Search Sites
Ask Jeeves:
MSN Toolbar Suite:

Colby Horton Net Worth is written by Colby Horton, ASA's electronic communications manager. He can be reached at (800) 272-7467, ext. 234, or by e-mail at

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