Get personal with a search engine

Have you been languishing in the Internet desert for too long, thirsting for a search engine that knows you from all the other nomads? Search engines tend to treat us all the same, and it's a virtual Sahara out there.

That's where a navigation tool and search engine site called YourCompass.com comes in handy. Its technology, known as True Personalization, gets to know you as an individual by tracking your surfing patterns. Based on your interests and preferences, the search results, content, and links come back unique to you.

If monitoring your interests and tracking patterns sounds a bit Orwellian, no one's complaining yet.

"We're trying to create a two-way street of personalisation," says Peter Siniawer, president and CEO of YourCompass.com. "We dynamically learn about you -- over time, we can tailor every single page a user sees."

Search engines such as Yahoo and Excite rely on customisation, loosely based on user input, to track user patterns. It's a one-way ticket to information overload. YourCompass.com, however, starts learning about you the minute you log on to the site.

It's a symbiotic relationship: the more you surf, the more YourCompass.com can personalise your search.

"We form an idea of who you are when you first log on," Siniawer says. "With every subsequent visit, it gets better and better."

It's also free. The site offers e-mail, news, and other services, including chat rooms, stock quotes, movie listings and address book functions, all neatly packaged into an online community.

YourCompass.com refers to this mutually compatible relationship as "Internet intimacy". As Siniawer says, the next level is learning what you prefer and making the Web experience that much more intimate.

"We move with your interests," he says. "We adapt to changing interests."

So go ahead -- get a little closer with the Web. And use YourCompass.com if you get lost in all the layers.

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Eileen Smith

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