Alta Vista is preparing a ?family zone? for launch later this year that will include a children?s search engine, claim sources close to the company.
Alta Vista is hoping the new facility will help it compete head on with the likes of Disney and Yahoo for the eyes of young Net surfers. Although Alta Vista has refused to comment about the service, it is expected to go live in the autumn.
It is thought to include an updated version of the Net Shepherd Family search engine. The engine is available now as an off-line package for schools but it was designed to work on the Internet, filtering out unsuitable material for children.
Analysts believe that Alta Vista will face tough competition in an already crowded children?s search engine market. Disney, for example, rolled out a child-oriented search engine last month called Dig, whilst Yahoo features a children?s search directory called Yahooligans.
Alta Vista?s other channels offer free news and some pay-per-view features. The site has signed up exclusive partners such as Abcnews.com to work on the zones.
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