Every week, it seems, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) launches some new whiz-bang tool to make Web surfing more efficient and enjoyable. While some of these utilities are pretty darned impressive, others seem to merely reinvent the wheel.

Take Yahoo!'s newest enhancement. On Thursday, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based firm announced the beta launch of Yahoo! Search Subscriptions. The name pretty much says it all, although Yahoo! did its best to make the new tool sound sleek. Search Subscriptions, the firm noted, is the first major search engine that allows users to cull through the "deep Web" -- Internet content available only by subscription.

Slick marketing aside, "deep Web" is a not-so-deep idea. Though the search can target seven different publications, you can't access any results unless you subscribe to the site or service in question. Yahoo! believes that Search Subscriptions offers some convenience, eliminating the need to find information on individual sites. However, since many users probably have access to only a few of the restricted-content sites anyway, the time saved seems pretty minimal.

Most importantly, it's difficult to identify likely users for Yahoo! Search Subscriptions. People who frequently need to search multiple restricted-access sites probably already use databases like Reed Elsevier's (NYSE:RUK) Lexis-Nexis. Yahoo! has brought a lot of innovation to the Web, but this latest service seems like a non-starter.

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Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.