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Search sites beef up

Amid cutthroat competition in the Internet directory business, Yahoo and Excite announce new features to lure Netizens and ad revenue.

Amid cutthroat competition in the Internet directory business, the new features keep on coming.

Today both Yahoo and Excite announced new features to their online offerings, hoping to lure more customers and, in turn, advertising revenue.

Yahoo inked a deal with Junglee to offer comparative online shopping. The feature collects information from merchants listed on the Visa Shopping Guide by Yahoo. For example, Netizens can search for a specific book online and find out the price and availability from a list of online bookstores.

Excite struck a pact with GTE New Media Services to integrate GTE's yellow-pages directory into the Excite and WebCrawler services. GTE's so-called SuperPages features information on more than 11 million businesses in the United States.

Also today, Excite announced an advertising campaign to support its personalized channel dubbed My Excite. It features facsimiles of well-known personalities such as President Bill Clinton, using them to tout the personalization feature.

Competition in the industry is stiff, not just from Internet directories but also from online services such as America Online, which is beefing up its own Web-based offering. It soon plans to introduce Web-based email for its members as well as personalization.