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The San Jose (California) Mercury News begins testing out its new business and technology news site at its choice domain.

The San Jose Mercury News is making a fresh attack on coverage in its own backyard and on the Internet.

The Mercury News is quietly preparing a site focused on business and technology news at its choice domain, which is now in public beta testing, said online brand group manager Doug Edwards.

The site has an emphasis on features, profiles, and columns over headline news. The home page is organized around a series of graphical boxes, two with information about tech stocks and one with news headlines. It also includes e-commerce features, such as links to sites where consumers can buy hardware and software.

"We offer news, opinions, and in-depth coverage of all things Silicon Valley--people, companies, industry, trends--regardless of geographical boundaries. We are a sister site to Mercury Center," according to a statement on the site. It went on to say that both sites, hosted by InfiNet of Virginia, are produced by the Mercury Center staff. The Mercury News' move to separate its business and technology content from the rest of its coverage underscores its efforts to reach beyond its readership in Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley and establish itself as a leading source of technology and business news for a national, if not international, readership.

Edwards declined to say whether the site would be free or subscription-based, or how it would affect the coverage offered on Mercury Center. But he did say that the site's official launch will take place later in February. also carves out more space for advertising. In addition to the ad banners at the top and bottom of the page, the beta site features a third ad in a box on the right-hand side of the page.

The site currently includes ads from Pacific Bell, Cathay Pacific airlines, and San Jose State University. The Mercury News has experimented with a number of strategies to take advantage of its online presence, including an abandoned effort to charge for online subscriptions.