Copernic Agent Professional

Quick Facts
Company/Organization Copernic Technologies
Version 6.0
Date Released 8 October 2002
File Size 5.64MB
Licence Commercial, License fee to be announced
Operating Systems Windows 95/98/NT4.0/2000/ME/XP
Minimum Requirements 486DX 66MHz, 15MB RAM, Internet Explorer/Netscape Navigator 3+
Score 5-star

Note: This software has not been officially released yet, and the version I am using was purchased through an internal promotional mailing from Copernic.


Brief Review

Copernic is a developer specialized in developing search solutions for individuals as well as corporations. Copernic Agent is a search program that allows users to query multiple search engines simultaneously, and thus saving users' time spending on searching through different search engines one by one. Although a free version is available, it queries only 80 information sources which may not be adequate in some situations. Copernic Agent Personal/Professional are the commercial versions of Copernic Agent, both of them offering an expanded set of features compared with the freeware version. They query more than 1000 search engines.

I started using Copernic 2000 Plus about 3 years ago, and subsequently upgraded to Copernic 2001 Plus with the free download of the new version available for their customers. Last month I received a promotional mailing from Copernic which promoted the new Copernic Agent Professional with a time-limited upgrade license fee of US$19.99 for current Copernic 2001 Plus customers. With this reasonable license fee in mind, I decided I would try it and see if it represents a great leap forward from the current (Copernic 2001) release.

The user interface of Copernic Agent Professional on my Windows 98 is shown in the figure above. All of the search engines in Copernic Agent Professional are grouped under various categories. The "The Web" category is the one I usually use as it queries all major search engines and you can usually get an encyclopaedic listing of matches. However, sometimes I also found the other categories useful. For example, I use the "Computer Security" category quite often when I am working on my college project on network security. It queries a list of specialized search engines that often give you a larger proportion of relevant results. This version includes many categories in the package, and more can be downloaded as needed. There is a "Check for Search Engine Updates" menu option that allows you to keep the list of search engines up-to-date.

As I have already mentioned, you can search multiple search engines at the same time, and . Each category consists of a number of search engines.

Operation of Copernic Agent Professional is intuitively simple. Simply choose the category, specify the search specifications and wait for the search to complete. As I mentioned multiple search engines are being queried simultaneously that makes the search process blazingly fast, and the search progress is displayed while the search is in progress. The user interface of the software is very clean and user-friendly. The search results are sorted in descending order of relevance, so that you would find most information relevant to your search very quickly. The terms in your search specification are also highlighted in the page summaries and in the external browser (if you are using IE).

There are many advanced features in this version that are worth mentioning. It eliminates duplicated search results and broken links, that is to check if the search results contain unreachable or expired documents and Copernic will remove them automatically. One feature I have found especially helpful is you can export the search results to an HTML document that allows me to share the search results with my friends and colleagues who do not have Copernic installed, which can then be mailed all from within the user interface of Copernic.

Copernic Summarizer is another product from Copernic which tries to extract the gist of a document, including HTML documents. Part of this functionality has been built into Copernic Agent Professional. Also, page tracking is also available in the Professional version to check periodically if certain pages have been modified.

Despite the many enhancements, certain features have been removed compared with Copernic 2001. For example, while you are browsing the search results in Copernic 2001 you can translate a page into different languages by using the Gist-in-time technology, which has been gone in this version. Also, the builtin result browser has been removed, and your default browser is now loaded instead. Skins can no longer be applied to customize the appearance of Copernic Agent.

Copernic Agent is very stable (it rarely crashes) and very customizable. The Professional version is especially indispensible for users with frequent needs to search for information on the World Wide Web and those needing to track page changes periodically. However, as the Professional version is pretty expensive, I may recommend the Personal version to every Web surfers because of its versatility. The range of search engines are identical for both Personal and Professional versions, and if you do not need the extended features in Professional version (e.g. page tracking and summarizing), the Personal version is a lot more cost-effective and I am sure you won't be disappointed.

Web Links
> Copernic 2001 Specifications > More Screenshots
> Purchase Copernic 2001 Plus Online > CNET's Review of Copernic 2001 Pro
Last Updated on 05/10/2002
Chan Bernard Ki Hong (1999-2004).
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