NewsTracker lets users search on its database of more than 300 publications, track up to 20 news topics, or browse news categories. The service also uses so-called intelligent agent software to help users customize information that is received.
The service is another example of the move toward generating revenue from ads and not subscriptions on the Web, Excite senior vice president Joe Kraus said.
The company touts NewsTracker as the first free service, but a competitor, Individual, offers a service called NewsPage; basic services give users access to a limited number of stories. The bulk of Individual's offerings are based on subscriptions, however.
Most similar services charge as well. In December, Dow Jones, the Financial Times, and Knight-Ridder Information said they would team up to offer online news resources. Others include Lexis-Nexis, DataTimes, and MAID's Profound service.