Lycos Search 6.0 turns up more content, features

Terra Lycos SA took the wraps off its updated search engine Sunday, aiming to woo users with expanded content, frequently updated results and new search tools aimed at making it easier for users to find what they are looking for.

Lycos Search 6.0 offers users access to over two billion full-text Web documents which are updated every nine days, the company said. Additionally, the Barcelona-based Internet company has added millions of PDF documents to its content cache, including annual reports, research and manuals.

"Historically, there's been a trade-off between breadth (of results) and freshness," said Tom Wilde, general manager of search services at Terra Lycos. "But new technologies have allowed us to offer both."

One of the most exciting new features of Lycos Search 6.0 is the News Search, according to Wilde.

Users can now access content from more than 3,000 news sites, refreshed every 60 seconds, under the News search tab. The company has also added tabbed search navigation for shopping, as well as a general Web search.

The Shopping search feature gives users access to numerous products and services on the Web. Sites listed under shopping search results are chosen by Terra Lycos editors for relevancy and are not paid-for listings, Wilde said.

Other new features include what the company calls visual relevance, where keywords appear in bold in search results, and domain filtering, in which the search engine provides only the most relevant search result pages from each Web site.

Internet search has been a key market for Terra Lycos, providing a majority of the company's revenues. Over the last six to eight months the company has been investing heavily in its search technologies and products, Wilde said, rolling out new search subscription and hosting services.

Many of the aggressive changes Terra Lycos has made in its search engine sprout from the company's partnership with search technology company Fast Search and Transfer ASA, according to Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineWatch.com, an online newsletter that follows the industry.

However, Sullivan said that a lot of the updates in Lycos Search 6.0 are "incremental changes and not show stoppers."

Still, Terra Lycos has made substantial improvements in its search capabilities over the past six months that are better for users, Sullivan said, such as results that feature highlighted keywords and increased transparency with paid listings.

Although Terra Lycos does not disclose how many unique search users it has, the company claims more than 115 million visitors to its portal each month.

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