By Larry Anders, Librarian, Tampa PC Users Group

If you use the Internet as much as I do for searches, definitions, pictures, and just all around reference, then I think I have found a utility program you may be interested in trying. It’s called GuruNet and is billed as the ultimate reference tool ( It has over 100 encyclopedias and dictionaries and works in any Windows program. It’s like having a search engine on steroids, but when you perform a search you don’t just get a bunch of links to look through, you get a more clear and succinct answer to your search. Click on any word in any program and you’ll get an instant explanation of the word.

There is a free version for the download and with it you get the Basic Reference that gives you a…

  • Dictionary of general word definitions, with audible pronunciations, a
  • Thesaurus of synonyms, including related and contrasting words and
  • Translations of words from English into 14 languages: Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Hebrew
  • Spell checker
  • Just 1-click on any word anywhere—not only in browsers
  • The free version also gives you a seven day trial to the full GuruNet, which gives you the above plus
  • Encyclopedia
  • Business, finance, investment, company info, etc.
  • Advanced reference: history, literature, idioms, acronyms, etc.
  • Science/tech: computer encyclopedia, math, genetics, etc.
  • Legal dictionary and cases
  • Medical and health topics
  • Government: U.S. Presidents, Cabinet, Congress, documents
  • People: biographies, celebrities, authors, royalty, etc.
  • Places: countries, states, cities, stats, flags, weather, etc.
  • Religious references: Bible, Old & New Testaments, Islam, etc.
  • Leisure: food, recipes, music, movies, TV, etc.
  • Automatic translation of GuruNet topics into 11 languages
  • Sports
  • Shopping
  • … and much, much more

    There really is too much to try and cover in this article. If you will go here: and take a look you will see all of the reference material available.

    When GuruNet performs a search, it brings up a page with a several tabs on it that breaks down the search into what I call categories. For example, I did a search for the word “computer,” and a window popped up with three main tabs. The first, “Did you mean” kinda asks me to further clarify the context of the word. The second tab, “GuruNet Public Library,” has a host of sub-tabs, such as Encyclopedia to give you a detailed explanation of your search and Sign Language, if you want to learn how to sign the word. Other sub-tabs include Products, Quotes About, WordNet, Translations, Images and News.

    There is a third tab that is “Search Web”, which is just what it says, your search found on the Internet. Except GuruNet brings back responses from Google, Vivisimo, Teoma and All The Web, all at one time, each on a separate tab with your searched item just a click away.

    GuruNet installs a small, unobtrusive Topic Bar just above the clock in the right hand bottom corner on the Status Bar. With one click it slides out and you enter your search criteria and then it slides back into hiding when not in use. And, don’t forget you can just put your cursor on any word in any application, hold the ALT key down and click the mouse for an automatic and instant explanation and definition of the word. It can’t get too much easier than that!

    Some of the good features of GuruNet are free to keep, whether you get the full version or not. But I think after trying the full version for seven days you just may be enticed to want to have all this power at your fingertips. I was and it has become a permanent feature. Give it a try. It’s worth the time for the download. u