RealTime IT News

AltaVista Revamps Portal, Updates Search

In its first major move since becoming a CMGI Inc. property, AltaVista Co. Monday unveiled new personalized content features and introduced a redesigned version of its search engine.

Dubbed AltaVista Live, the content initiative draws from more than 100 brands, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Associated Press and others. The new offering will debut Oct. 25.

AltaVista Live allows users to customize content which then updates continually with no intervention from the user. Human editors select and prioritize news and content which is then fed continuously to user's screens.

Video and other multimedia content will be available.

"AltaVista Live does more than just gather this information wealth into one place. By applying an expert editorial hand to what would otherwise be an overwhelming stream of information, we ensure maximum breadth of coverage and maximum timeliness, in a concise high-impact format," said Ross Levinsohn, AltaVista New Media's vice president and general manager.

Also Monday, AltaVista unveiled its redesigned search function which it says will give users easier access to more relevant results. It features a new relevancy formula designed to deliver more accurate searches and a new spider system dubbed the "living index" continually crawls the Web to ensure more up-to-date links, the company said.

AltaVista Search has also indexed more than 25 million photos, videos and sound recordings and offers easy access to a variety of art and photography collections through content partnerships. Thumbnails are available for still images and video clips and audio search results will include Real Audio files from CDnow (CDNW).

Greg Memo, vice president and general manager of AltaVista Search, new technology dubbed "AltaVista Page Knowledge" analyzes a page's content, metatags, the amount of bandwidth required for delivery and other information to determine the relevancy of search results.

AltaVista Search also has a new area maintained by human guides, dubbed AltaVista Directory. The directory, based on Netscape's Open Directory Project, is a collection of Web sites and pages reviewed by human editors around the world.

The directory also features detailed background information on companies mentioned in the results.