AltaVista amps up navigation, entertainment services

The Internet portal's new navigation tool and entertainment center come as Napster-like technology is being used to create a powerful search engine.

AltaVista is trying to one-up rival Internet portals with the launch of new services, as Napster-like technology is being used to create a powerful search engine.

AltaVista's new navigation tool attempts to help Net surfers refine their search results. The feature includes business and multimedia searches. In addition, AltaVista will offer a tool search, which finds popular services such as instant messengers and audio players.

The company's new entertainment center will provide Net users with a collection of entertainment-related content. People can search within five categories: audio/MP3, video, images, radio and Web pages. For example, a search of the video box to find the movie "Hurricane" will not return weather-related information along with video information.

"It is our intention to continue to innovate and build upon the search center concept," Ross Levinsohn, vice president of AltaVista Network, said in a statement. "It is a strategic step in the direction of building a complete Web-wide information resource."

AltaVista also unveiled in May a new search engine, called Raging Search, in an attempt to lure users away from Google's search engine.

Although AltaVista's new services may be a plus for consumers, the company still faces competition from rivals such as Excite@Home, which in June unveiled its new search engine to refine search results.