MSN Incorporates RealNames

Microsoft Corp. Monday signed a two-year agreement with Centraal Corp. to incorporate Centraal’s RealNames Web navigation service into its MSN Search product.

In addition to MSN Search, the technology will also be included in AutoSearch, search technology integrated into Internet Explorer 5. The search integration will be complete at the end of the third quarter.

The RealNames System is a global, standards-based solution which allocates simple names to Web pages, and operates in the URL location bar of browsers. RealNames resolvers contain more than 3 million names. Centraal directs Internet users to desired Web sites and analyzes user search requests to determine Internet usage preferences and trends. Businesses buy subscriptions to be included in the service.

Microsoft will also market and sell RealNames subscribers through MSN’s LinkExchange.

Rob Bennett, group product manager for Microsoft’s consumer and commerce group, said the relationship will benefit both consumers and advertisers.

“MSN advertisers can now extend the power of their brands online using product names and advertising slogans, while consumers will be able to use familiar names instead of complex URLs to quickly locate exactly what they are looking for,” he said.

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