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AltaVista Goes Local in France, the Netherlands

AltaVista Co. Thursday extended its global reach by launching its new France and Netherlands properties.

Both sites will generate local content and the signature search function with country-specific indices which AltaVista claims will cover 95 percent of local sites in both the French and Dutch languages.

The CMGI-owned (CMGI) portal has introduced similar European versions in the U.K., Germany and Sweden. AltaVista also claims that more than half its user traffic -- which the company claims hit 2 billion monthly page views in January and reeled in 54 unique visitors -- originates outside of the U.S.

AltaVista introduced free Internet access in the U.S. and Canada last year, and plans to carry this feature to AltaVista France through a deal with Internet Telecom. Local content providers in France include Agence France-Press (AFP), Liberation news, Webcity and Paris Avenue for local information, Lokace directory services, and others.

The Dutch site will include content from YourNews, ActivePlus stock market quotes, Meteo Consult weather information, Spott Multichannel auctions, and AutoTrader car sales.

"AltaVista's new French and Dutch sites underscore our commitment to create local Internet destinations with premier resources in countries around the world," said Rod Schrock, president and chief executive officer of AltaVista.

Schrock added that AltaVista will continue to develop and launch international throughout the year.