Excite Rolls Out Search Update

Broadband service provider [email protected]
early Saturday unveiled its updated search program for Web users
worldwide.

Dubbed Excite Precision Search,
[email protected] said the offering is redesigned to deliver improved search
relevance and simplified navigation through the Web.

Excite Precision Search was revamped to focus its search functions on
relevance algorithms. The program also provides
real-time search results on a broad variety of content, including news,
photos, audio and video files, as well as Web directory categories.

Michele Turner, [email protected] vice president of search, said its programming
update establishes a new level of search excellence for its users.

“Excite Precision Search provides users with the highest quality results
without multiple clicks and queries,” Turner said. “We continue to innovate
and provide our consumers with the best experience on the Web.”

Once based on link popularity, the new heart of Excite Precision Search
beats from next generation link analysis. The search programming is a
radical improvement in the quality of Excite’s Web search results.

Excite’s crawls the Web to analyze some 250 million pages every two weeks
to keep the search index on top of the most relevant and popular Web pages
that match any query. To achieve these results, Excite combined new
technologies that evaluate anchor text and link popularity with text
indexing, in addition to semantic matching and link analysis utilized in
the previous version of Excite Search.

Additionally, dead links and duplicate pages are removed to ensure that
Excite users receive fresh and up-to-date search results. Excite keeps its
search fresh and dead link-free by pinging its way through its core Web
search index ever two or three days.

Abbot Chambers, [email protected] senior director of search products, said its new search programming is based on two key improvements.

“We dramatically improved search relevance, making Excite’s search superior to competitors, while we cleaned-up and re-launched the Web interface, to make it easier for users to search the Web,” Chambers said.

Chambers said Excite quietly tested the new search functions and interface over the past few weeks prior to the public rollout event.

“We’ve keep the rollout slow until today,” Chambers said. “Over the past few weeks we’ve allowed about 15 to 20 percent of our users to check out the new search function. Initial reports are great, users find the streamlined search and simplified Web interface very appealing.”

The Excite Precision Search experience begins on the customizable start page, which includes a complete suite of search tools, as well as “Did You Know” search tips, links to popular searches, and a new advanced search feature. Adanve search does not require users to add quotation marks or plus signs to text, users merely select the criteria for their search though an easy-to-use option selection.

The new home page also provides users with access to search results in five categories, Web search with quick results, category search, news search, photo search, as well as audio and video file search.

The Web search quick results appear alongside centralized Web search
results and direct users to current information about sports teams,
entertainers, companies, colleges and universities, movies, and television programs. For example, a search on “New York Yankees” resents a quick results box showing recent scores, a wire photo, and links to statistics, schedules, and team news.

Through Excite’s partnership with LookSmart Ltd., Excite search offers users links to more than 1.5 million sites and 100,000 topics from its Web site directory. The feature is designed to dig deeper into a subject and find quality sites that areh

andpicked and organized by human topic specialists.

Excite’s news search function is updated every hour, on the hour to provide relevant news and breaking stories about a search topic.

Excite’s photo search offers two ways to search for the perfect photo to e-mail to a friend or download as a screen saver.
It’s based on more than 750,000 user images from Excite Webshots, the top photo site search on the Web.

Excite’s audio and video index includes hundreds of thousands of multimedia files collected from the Web in categories like movies, music, TV and radio. Users can access files in AVI, MIDI, MPEG, MP3, Real, QuickTime and WAV formats.

According to the latest Media Metrix Inc. ratings, [email protected] has plenty of room to gain rank in the search engine industry.

Yahoo, Inc. remains the top search site with more than 55 percent of the market. Alta Vista, Inc. follows with only 11 percent of the market, while Excite is ranked third, with just under 10 percent of the world’s Web search segment.

Media Metrix tracks site traffic, not Web property traffic. Web site traffic is supposed to show visitors to a particular site, while Web property traffic shows visitors to all sites within the
same network.

For instance, [email protected] operates Excite.com, WebCrawler Inc. and BlueMountainArts Inc. Traffic to all of these sites plus any other Excite-owned Web site is combined to estimate [email protected]’s web property traffic. This property traffic will naturally be higher than the site traffic for the Excite.com site alone.

Media Metrix’s numbers do not reflect how much traffic is specifically
search-related. While many people access Yahoo! the numbers do not segregate users that went there to search from people just checking their free e-mail account.

If Excite’s search update provides all the resources that the company says it does, ultimately Web users will determine what piece of the profitable advertising and e-commerce pie Excite company earns this year.

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