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Internet

Search engines seek eyeballs

Three major search engine presences--Lycos, AltaVista, and Yahoo--have come out with big announcements aimed at the bottom line.

The battle for the eyeballs is reinventing the way search engines serve the masses.

This week at least three search engine companies--Lycos, AltaVista, and Yahoo--have come out with major announcements aimed at the bottom line: bringing more people to their pages who can view online ads and generate more revenue.

Today, Lycos announced that it is adding another European site, this time in France. Lycos France will provide users with French-related Internet sites, and of course, will conduct searches in French. Lycos will be collaborating with Euorpean telecom provider Global One and Internet facilitator Global VIP.

Lycos already has sites in Germany and Sweden; more are on the way in Europe, according to Sarah Garnsey, a Lycos spokeswoman. Several other search engines also boast European sites.

In this highly competitive business, it makes sense. "Europe as a whole is a key market," Garnsey said.

On another front, AltaVista today also announced a new tool that it hopes will draw more people to its search engine, known for its incredible speed but not necessarily for its organization. AltaVista will now be offering users a way to organize their searches through a technology it dubs LiveTopics.

Unlike Yahoo, which has predetermined topics into which it categorizes Web pages, LiveTopics places information into topics it creates based on results from a query.

For instance, a standard search on "President Clinton" yields 50,000 results. But LiveTopics places the search into 20 categories, including terrorism, decency, Hillary and wages.

"We're able to respond to new content that comes on the Web every day," said Krys Monaco, a spokeswoman for AltaVista. "What we're trying to do is make our search engine appeal to everybody from the Web-phobics to the Web-centrics."

Of course, that's pretty much everybody's goal. Yesterday, Yahoo also came out with two announcements: that it would be delivering its content through BackWeb's push technology and that it is adding classified ads to its service.