Internet

Excite site to be Net foyer

WebCrawler, one of the first search engines on the Internet, is getting revamped as a site targeted at home users.

WebCrawler, one of the first search engines on the Internet, is getting revamped next month as a site targeted at consumers who log onto the Net from home.

It marks the second time in eight months that WebCrawler has received a face-lift. It comes amid intense competition among search engines and free online services on the Web.

With the repositioning, WebCrawler's parent, Excite (XCIT), hopes to benefit from a two-pronged strategy. WebCrawler will be a search engine for people who find the Net useful but "sometimes overwhelming," while Excite's flagship site will remain a free online service with chat, free email, content channels, and personalization--just like Yahoo, Lycos, AOL.com, and MSN.com.

"Along with search, the new [WebCrawler] service will combine helpful hints like those found in lifestyle magazines with the daily programming highlights of something like the Today Show," said Excite senior vice president Joe Kraus in a statement. "The new service will have the best of 'news you can use' and daily information in an easy-to-use start page, giving consumers simple, quick answers from the Internet."

It also will include faster loading pages and a simple interface, similar to other online "foyers" or jumping-off points such as Snap, a division of CNET: The Computer Network (publisher of NEWS.COM).

Excite bought WebCrawler from America Online in November 1996. It once was AOL's portal to the Web.