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RealTime IT News

A New Portal Challenger to Enter the Ring

Enter another contender into the portal arena. America Online and its subsidiary, ICQ are planning to unveil a "desktop portal," ICQ99, within the next few weeks.

The portal revolves around ICQ's popular instant messaging service and will provide users with the ability to surf the Web without leaving the ICQ taskbar. It will also have off-line browsing capabilities.

The site also will feature ICQ Most Visited, a search engine powered by Inktomi, made to return results based on how many times other users accessed the site. Other search engines Lycos, Excite, AltaVista, WebCrawler, AskJeeves and NetFind will also be featured on the portal site. It is part of the company's strategy to provide a "multi-branded portal."

The target audience will be young, international and Web-savvy, according to the company. That demographic has already contributed to the reported 21 million downloads of ICQ's instant messaging service so far.

AOL acquired ICQ's parent company, Mirabilis in July for $287 million in cash.



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