The latest trend in the Net start page or "portal" battle seems to be a return to the basics. Many of the sites best known as Net gateways--such as Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, Infoseek, and others--began as search engines and directories. Lately those sites, which have spent the last several months augmenting their search services with add-ons such as free email, stock quotes, local guides, and the like, have returned to their roots and improved their search technology.
Yesterday, Excite announced an upgrade to its search engine that gives users additional content and streamlined results to searches on publicly traded companies and sports teams. The firm said it would roll out the improved search results for other subjects in the coming months.
AltaVista and Infoseek also recently announced upgrades to their search capabilities.
Lycos acquired Tripod in February as a means of boosting traffic to its site.
WiseWire technology filters and organizes Tripod members' home pages into categories and subcategories, according to Lycos. Using intelligent agent technology, WiseWire then allows visitors to rate the quality of the pages they view and automatically recommends the highest-ranked pages to other visitors. Tripod hosts more than 2.7 million home pages, Lycos said.