Self-downloading search services: virus or boon?

For the last few days my PC had been very sluggish online. I ascribed this to telephone transmission problems (our line was totally out for a few days, possibly due to a faulty line; I cut part of the line out and screwed the fresh ends to the leads on the utility post), problems caused by the bad weather, or such things.
Yesterday, however, I noticed a new icon on the taskbar at the lower right of the desktop screen: Two curved arrows pointing in a circular pattern, much like a “recycled” symbol. The “balloon” for this icon said something like “180 Search Serrvice,” which I didn’t remember downloading. I went to Add/Remove Programs and tossed this program and its auxiliaries out, and the next time I went online, this morning, I had no problerms.
So is this something I accidentally downloaded, or is it an elemet of a virus designed to make my computer bog down?

Spyware often comes disguised as search engines. That 180 Search Service probably would have told its masters everything you searched for. They, in turn, would have sent you spam selling what you searched for. Meanwhile, the “search engine” is running all the time, using up your RAM capacity. As to how you got it, I’ll leave that to someone else.

[url=http://sarc.com/avcenter/venc/data/adware.180search.html]180Search
[/quote]
is definately spyware/adware.

Set your internet privacy level to medium high. That will prevent most spyware from drive-by downloading.

Since the incident referred to in the OP, I have tried this site.