Lycos offers people and discussion search

Terra Lycos introduced two search tools on its Lycos US Internet site on Monday as part of a recently announced strategy to focus on services that allow users to connect with others.

Lycos People Search and Discussion Search are expected to anchor a number of forthcoming offerings that permit users to access and share information online.

The new People Search tool allows users to locate others by searching white pages listings, the Web and alumni and professional information resources. Users can also perform a business search by querying yellow pages listings. While there are a handful of online people search tools, Lycos hopes to carve a niche by aggregating the offerings in one place.

Eliyon Technologies for example, provides the professional profile search function while the alumni information is from Reunion.com LLC. While all the basic search functions are free, the third-party providers offer more in-depth, paid services. Although Lycos does not offer any paid people search services, the company plans to roll out tiered services in the future, according to Lycos Senior Director of Product Management Lauren Bigelow.

"This area will continue to evolve but right now we are specializing in connecting people. A lot of people are discovering and rediscovering people online," Bigelow said.

Lycos also wants to connect people with more specific and specialized information through Discussion Search, which allows users to hunt for a specific topic just on discussion boards, Bigelow said.

Discussion Search, currently in beta, scans Yahoo Groups, MSN Groups and .org domains, offering forum and message boards on a wide variety of specific topics. When performing a discussion search, results appear on the right-hand side of the screen, and related sponsored links on the left. At the top of the page, users are also directed to links for related organizations. A search on fly-fishing, for example, rendered the "Outdoor Networks Flyfishing Forum" atop the search results, and related organization such as "Saltwater Flyfishing" and "Travel Michigan Tight Loop Flyfishing."

"While you can find discussion board through a normal Web search, this allows you to focus and filter much more," Bigelow said.

Terra Lycos, based in Barcelona, announced earlier this year that it would focus its Lycos strategy on connectivity tools, with emphasis put on search and Web publishing. Lycos will integrate the People and Discussion Search tools into the company's other properties as well as roll out new services such as digital photo sharing later in the year, Bigelow said.

While Lycos has long offered Web publishing services through its Tripod and Angelfire communities, it introduced a Blog Builder tool last year and plans to continue to expand on the blog service, Bigelow said.

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