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StarMedia Debuts Spanish-Language Portal

In a move to solidify its position in the Spanish market, StarMedia Network Inc. Thursday created a separate unit for the launch of Spanish-language portal Periscopio.com.

The portal will focus on quick retrieval of personalized information, primarily through a search engine which boasts an index of more than 110 million documents. The engine can also search by language and country.

The portal's Guia Periscopio guide feature lists 24,000 Spanish-language sites.

"Periscopio.com combines an in-depth search engine and a comprehensive directory of Spanish-language sites on the Internet with advanced personalization tools now available in-language," said Fernando Espuelas, StarMedia Network and Periscopio Inc.'s chairman and chief executive officer.

"Periscopio.com enables our users to personalize their own gateway to the Internet, tracking the sites, content, and information most relevant to their experience."

Periscopio.com is divided into Mi Pagina (My Page), Guia (Guide), Canales (Channels), and Comunidad (Community). Users can edit the portals 16 guides and 22 news topics for personalized use.

IBM Corp. (IBM) acted as the official sponsor of the launch. Periscopio also partnered with Reuters, AgenciaEFE, DyN, Eshare, WeatherLabs, and Inktomi for the portal.

On Wednesday, Starmedia (STRM) announced the acquisition of Webcast, whose services will be added to StarMedia Broadband. The company expects to move to strengthen its multimedia offerings.

Starmedia Wednesday also launched Juegos Multiplayer, a real-time Spanish-language gaming service. A Portuguese version is scheduled for launch next month.

StarMedia has been on the move this month to establish itself as a player in Latin America as well as the US-based Hispanic market. Recent deals inked this month include a partnership with Hewlett-Packard for a Latin American business-targeted e-commerce solution, and a new Internet access service launched in Brazil.