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For Excite, it's personal

Excite announces a feature on its Net search engine that allows users to personalize news, stock quotes, and other information services.

Excite is announcing a feature on its Net search engine that allows users to personalize news, stock quotes, and other information services, as reported by CNET last week.

The move may help Excite differentiate itself from other sites, such as Yahoo and Lycos, in the highly competitive search engine market. The personalization capabilities might also help bolster the company's flagging stock (XCIT), which today hit a 52-week low of 5-1/8.

The ability to deliver a "personal" Web page or other online content that meets a user's individual specifications is quickly becoming pervasive, and could be a precursor to future efforts at customization with much more sophisticated software and even intelligent agents.

Excite, though, is not first in bringing this feature to the already crowded search engine sector, so it's not clear if there's a significant advantage to be gained by personalization alone. Deja vu: the company's merger with the struggling McKinley Group and its Magellan index is another example of how Excite is not working to make leaps and bounds in the marketplace, but simply looking to survive.

With its new personalization feature, called Excite Live, visitors to Excite's Web site will be able to select specific types of information they wish to receive, including sports scores, features, news, financial information, and weather forecasts.

The Microsoft Network and Netscape Communications are sites that similarly combine personalized editorial content and links to search engines.