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Excite offers new search tool

Precision search goes live

Internet surfers attempting to navigate the increasingly tangled Web have a new tool for their searches, with the rollout of the new Excite Precision Search engine from At Home, popularly known as Excite@Home.

Excite touts the new tool as offering high-speed search results, based on its use of new technologies that employ text indexing and word matching, simple result navigation and easy access to a wide variety of media types, including video and MP3 music files.

In addition to these features, the new search site (http://search.excite.com) has links that allow users to browse Web pages by category, featured selections by the sites' editors and tips on effective searching.

Precision Search's front page is laid out much like any other search engine, with a line for text entry and a "search" button.

Once the "search" button is clicked, however, the differences between Excite and other similar tools become apparent to the user.

Search results are listed in a simple, unadorned interface with links to relevant sites, including Amazon.com for purchases or Excite Music for MP3 downloads, on either side.

Also setting Excite Precision Search apart is the accuracy of its search results, according to the company.

In fact, in a test search for the obscure musician Stacey Earle, Precision Search's first 21 sites were all direct hits, whereas the search site http://www.Hotbot.com could only make that claim for its first 5.

Beyond simple Web page searching, though, Precision Search offers users the option of searching for music and video files, photos or even news stories on specific topics.

However, some of these features do not yet appear to be as reliable as the main search tool.

For example, when conducting a photo search, also for Stacey Earle, for both news photos and Excite Webshot member photos, results included basketball players, men named Earle, women named Stacey and a car named Earle, but no pictures of Stacey Earle.

Similarly, a search for photos of Bob Dylan returned a number of pictures of the tennis player Pete Sampras.

When searching the Audio/Video section, specifically for MP3 music files, "Stacey Earle" turned up a number of links to her brother Steve, as well as one to Bob Dylan, but none to Ms. Earle herself.

The news search feature, on the other hand, appears to be more accurate. Any casual search of a newsworthy event returns an ample number of sites, from, according to Excite, over 300 well-known news sources, both online and off, including CNN.com, Reuters and The Associated Press.

With around 250 million indexed Web pages to search, Excite's Precision Search offers a way to make the ever-expanding Web just a bit easier to navigate.


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