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CNN, Oracle open Custom News

A new cobranded Web site--dubbed Custom News--opens with personalized information from 100 media outlets.

ATLANTA--CNN Interactive and Oracle have opened a new cobranded site on the Web--dubbed Custom News--that provides personalized news from CNN and more than 100 other magazines and media organizations.

The service, unveiled officially at The site is the latest example of the move by traditional media to leverage their brand and content on the Web. (See related story)

As previously reported by CNET's NEWS.COM, the custom news site will be introduced tormorrow morning by CNN founder Ted Turner and Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison. (Turner now is vice chairman of Time Warner, which bought CNN.) The two billionaires--Ellison the technophile and Turner the technophobe--are expected to be a big draw.

The new service "provides you with up-to-date news stories on the subjects that interest you," according to the site, which bears both the CNN and Oracle names in its logo. "Simply select your favorite news topics, including up-to-the-minute stock quotes, sports scores, and weather conditions. Custom news displays your news on your customized news pages."

The site features content from CNN as well as from the Associated Press, Newsbytes, magazines such as The Nation, the National Review, Nation's Business, and Sunset, as well as weekly business publications in many major cities.

Readers are able to fill out a profile of topics of interest and then receive that information. The site allows users to mix and match information; for example, they can get world news from CNN, a weather report for a business trip, and local financial news from a publication such as the South Florida Business Journal. Readers also can get stock quotes and sports scores.

Other features include "On Target" that keeps a constant lookout for articles on a particular subject. Users also can search for news themselves on the site.

CNN already offers CNN Plus (for community message boards); CNNfn (for financial news); and AllPolitics. The customized feature will be a fourth addition to CNN's Internet offerings.

The idea of a personalized news and information page is not new. MSNBC, for example, offers a feature called "your personal front page," which lets users receive personalized information from the Web site. They can type in favorite headlines, personal topics, stock quotes, sports scores, and local news.

But sources familiar with the CNN-Oracle plan promised that the site would be more comprehensive and faster than MSNBC's.

Oracle will provide technology for the site, including its ConText text search and summary technology, an optional component of the company's database server.

ConText adds text searching functions that let users employ the Structured Query Language (SQL) to simultaneously search relational databases for both structured information, such as spreadsheet data, and unstructured data, such as text.

Oracle is also supplying its universal database server and Web Application Server technology.

Other online news sites are also ramping up their efforts. MSNBC continues to make improvements to its site, and Walt Disney's ABCNews.com recently launched. CBS also is building its presence on the Web.