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THIS WEB AGENT KNOWS WHAT YOU LIKE

WEB SURFING MAY SOON BE passe. A growing number of services and software programs let info seekers cut their random site-clicking and zero in on their particular interests. First came PointCast Inc., which sends a broad range of requested news to a PC screensaver. Now, companies are devising smart software agents that navigate Web sites to find material that matches a profile of individual tastes. The newest addition to the pack: a ``smart personal agent'' called Excite Live!, from the search-engine company Excite Inc.

After Internauts fill out a checklist of subject options at the Excite Live! site, the agent prowls around 300 Web periodicals several times a day to find news matching those interests. From then on, Excite Live! presents a home page customized to those interests. What sets it apart from other agent companies such as Individual Inc. and Firefly Network Inc., according to Excite, is an advanced search engine and a global thesaurus that look not only for keywords but also for related concepts. Moreover, the agent can continually ``learn'' more about subscribers' interests from what they've been viewing.

EDITED BY IRA SAGER By Robert D. Hof


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Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.
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